Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bible Stories

Most moms when their children were little have had them ask to hear another bedtime story. It becomes a nighttime ritual and draws us closer to our children as we see the world expand in their eyes.

I was reading Nehemiah on the daily reading plan at Studylight.org. The first chapter showed the numbers of how many were left after begin exile by Nebuchadnezzar. I know God had a plan in all the numbers and genealogy but I don't have a great interest in it and so I just scanned past. Of course, I did glance back to see who had put them in exile once I started to read chapter 8.

After the people of Israel settled into towns, they began to ask for the Book of the Law of Moses. Ezra the scribe and others prepared, then on the first day of the seventh month they assembled "as one man" (v.1) in the square. This consisted of men, women and all that could understand. (v.2) Ezra read from daybreak til noon and they all "listened attentively to the Book of Law". (v.3) Which if it is like anything like a morning here in the west would easily be six hours, God bless him.

I was just imaging that they sat there listening to Ezra read and how they were drawn into God's word. Surprisingly, as Ezra opened the book the assembly stood. Ezra praised the Lord and the gathering "lifted their hands and responded, Amen, Amen! and then they bowed down and worship the Lord with their faces to the ground". (v.6)

As Ezra read all through that morning the Levites "instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read". (v.7,8) Amazing that God encouraged the gathering by letting the priest teach to them as Ezra was reading. Even then He gave us the example of learning from godly sources the things that we read and hear.

Those assembled were then instructed by Nehemiah because weeping had occurred during the reading, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep". (v.9) "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (v.10) The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve." (v.11) I love how God allowed the ruler of the day to give them permission to celebrate all that they had learned.

Do we celebrate after we have learned new things, conquered a fear or drawn closer to God? Let's look how we can learn, absorb the word of God and then celebrate it when we do. Don't forget to seek out godly instruction if it is not clear on what we are learning.