Bring the Book
We have before us a story of what happens when God’s people rediscover God’s word, the Bible. Nehemiah was the man God raised up to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah lead the people to complete the work. Chapter 8 reveals the dedication service that took place.
We can think of the book of Nehemiah this way: The first half (chapters 1-6) tells about the rebuilding of the walls. The second half (chapters 7-13) tells about the rebuilding of the people.
What happens when God’s people rediscover God’s Word?
Notice Their Desire: 8:1-3
The people ask Ezra to Read the Bible to them. The book of Moses is the Torah. The first 5 books in our Bible. They did not ask for a new book. They asked for THE BOOK. The Jews would become people of the book from this point. That is a mark of true Revival. God’s people begin to hunger again for God’s word. If the Church is going to have revival we must get back to the Bible.
Notice Their Appreciation: 8:4-6
Notice the simplicity here. No pomp, no ceremony, no choir, no sacrifice, no offering. Just a pulpit and platform. They stand out of respect for the Word of God. They lift up their hands, and bow down with their faces to the ground. When God’s Word is read in worship, it is no small thing. You are worshiping God when you listen to God’s Word. We need a sacred appreciation for the Bible. That is why I encourage you to bring the book to Church. It is God’s word. The B-I-B-L-E, May God grant us a genuine appreciation for his Word!
Notice Their Understanding: 8:7-8
There are 13 men that stand with Ezra. We are not sure how this worked. The men may have circulated through the crowd. The words were written in Hebrew, some spoke Aramaic. Verse 8 offers us perhaps the clearest definition of preaching in the Bible: Reading, Explaining, Understanding. This is what preachers do. We are to make the bible clear and applicable. Ezra wanted to make sure that all the Jews understood God’s word. That is why he had those 13 men helping him. It is not about going so deep that you come up dry. Preaching is to make the Book come alive.
Notice Their Response: 8:9
Why did they weep? The Holy Spirit brought conviction to their hearts. As the Word hit home, they saw their true condition. Weeping is a positive sign, like getting sore after you get a flu shot.
Notice 8:10 Stop weeping and start celebrating. And don’t forget to help those in need. This is the inevitable result of God’s Word working in your life.
Notice the progression in Nehemiah 8:1-12: Teaching, hearing, understanding, applying, demonstrating, joy. But this is not by chance. The end of verse 10 contains a phrase we’ve all heard before: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” This doesn’t happen automatically. I know Christians who never find joy because they skip part of the plan.
We need to get back to the BOOK. It is that book that reveals God to us. It is that Book that shows us our true condition. It is that Book that tells us the way of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Preachers need to bring the book when they stand up and preach. Teachers need to bring the book” when they stand up to teach. We need the book for our churches to be strong. “Bring us the book,” and we will be satisfied.