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They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. Nehemiah 8:8
When the sun came up on the first day of the seventh month in 444 bc, Ezra started reading the law of Moses (what we know as the first five books of the Bible). Standing on a platform in front of the people in Jerusalem, he read it straight through for the next six hours.
Men, women, and children had gathered at the entrance to the city known as the Water Gate to observe the Festival of Trumpets—one of the feasts prescribed for them by God. As they listened, four reactions stand out.
They stood up in reverence for the Book of the Law (Neh. 8:5). They praised God by lifting their hands and saying “Amen.” They bowed down in humble worship (v. 6). Then they listened carefully as the Scriptures were both read and explained to them (v. 8). What an amazing day as the book that “the Lord had commanded for Israel” (v. 1) was read aloud inside Jerusalem’s newly rebuilt walls!
Ezra’s marathon reading session can remind us that God’s words to us are still meant to be a source of praise, worship, and learning. When we open the Bible and learn more about Christ, let’s praise God, worship Him, and seek to discover what He is saying to us now.
Lord, thank You for this amazing book we call the Bible. Thank You for inspiring its creation by the writers You chose to pen its words. Thank You for preserving this book through the ages so we can learn Your people’s story and the good news of Your love.
The goal of Bible study is not just learning but living.
Nehemiah was the “cupbearer to the king” (Neh. 1:11), a position of great trust and influence in ancient cultures. The cupbearer was responsible to serve wine at the king’s table and would be positioned at the king’s side as an advisor during times of deliberation. Since ancient monarchs were often assassinated by poison, the cupbearer was sometimes required to taste the wine before serving. The person who handled the king’s cup was important and needed to be trustworthy.