Nehemiah 8-10

The Road To Revival

In Chapter 8 we read that the people are settled in their homes now that the wall in Jerusalem has been rebuilt. It is the first of the seventh month and the people are gathering for the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets is the only feast that occurs on the dark of the moon. At the beginning of the Feast a trumpet would be blown and the people would stop what they were doing and make their way to Jerusalem to celebrate this and two more feasts in the seventh month. To me it is symbolic of coming out of the darkness of the world into the glorious light of God, and that is exactly what happens in these chapters.

As the people gather we are told they gather as one man. They are united because they realize they have all been through common experiences and sought a common goal in rebuilding the wall. As they gathered together to celebrate the Feast, Ezra read the Word of God to the people and the Levites gave the people understanding of the Word of God so they could apply it and it would be relevant to their lives going forward.

Many people see the Law as a list of rules to be followed. This is a sad misunderstanding of God’s purpose of the Law. God told the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 4 that if they would obey the Law it would result in them being blessed by God which in turn would bring a blessing to the nations around them. If we approach the Law with an attitude that the law is just a list of rules we will fail to keep it even if we try. The people gathered there knew that God had taken them out of a difficult and impossible situation and brought them to this point. As a result they realized they have experienced God’s grace, mercy and love.

In Luke 7:36-50 we read of a woman who worshiped our Lord by washing His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, anointed His feet with perfume, and continued to do so. Jesus said to her that her sins were forgiven. He then explained that those who realized the depth of their sins and understood the forgiveness of their sin by God, love God much.

This is the case with the people standing before Ezra as he reads them the Law. The people came together as one man but also in a right relationship with God. In verse 10 of Chapter 8, Nehemiah told the people, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” NASB

I hope we truly understand what Nehemiah was saying. The strength to do the Law is rooted in a right understanding and relationship with God. Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”

A healthy relationship with the Lord is absolutely essential. Otherwise we will see the Word of God as rules and our faith will wither and die.

On the tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It is a special Sabbath when the High Priest goes into the Most Holy Place in the Temple to make atonement for the sins of the people. It is not mentioned here in our study but we observe that the sins of the people were forgiven by God by what takes place next.  As the Word of God is read they realize the Feast of Booths is to be observed in the seventh month as well. They start preparation for the Feast and when they celebrate this Feast, it results in the people mourning for their sin, and their confession and repentance of their sins. Chapter 9 records their confession resulting in them making a vow before God to walk rightly with Him observing the Law of God. Their vow is recorded in chapter 10 and contains seven things they promise to do.

When our relationship is right with God great things can take place in our life. As the Apostle said in Romans 12:1&2 we are truly transformed by the renewing of our mind and our body is to be a living and holy sacrifice.

As said earlier, a right relationship with God is absolutely essential if we are to have the joy of the Lord to empower our walk with Him.  Jesus told us to seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness and God will take care of the rest.  He doesn’t say we will be blessed if we have a causal relationship with church or God. He doesn’t say we will be blessed if we reject all or parts of the Law of God or try to make God conform to our image rather than we conform to His. We are to sacrifice our will and do His will.

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is the exact representation of the nature of God. John tells us that Jesus is the Word and the Word became like us and lived among us so we can see His light and relate to God. 

One day we will stand before God and give an account of our lives and our faith. God is in pursuit of us and has done, and is doing, all He can to reach us. The question is, are we running to Him or from Him? Are we doing our part standing as one with Jesus? Or are we faking it, feigning obedience? People can be fooled but not God.


Pastor Dave