Suggested Reading: Nehemiah 7-8
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Key Verse: Nehemiah 8:12
And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.
Imagine the scene. A choir of 245 singers and Ezra, the priest, stepping forward to lead the worship, the prayers, and the reading of Scripture. When Ezra blessed the Lord, the people said, “Amen, Amen,” lifted up their hands, and bowed their heads. This was not only reading, it was expository preaching, giving the sense and helping the people understand the reading. We would be blessed to have such a meeting in our places of worship! “Amen, Amen.”
Malachi, the Prophet author of the last book in the Hebrew Scriptures, was there. He was probably participating as a Levite. Over and over “the children” are mentioned in the list of families present. Malachi proclaimed that God would “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6a). These are the final words of the last book in the Bible from which Jesus and the Apostles would have read. This bonding of families was happening as the people in the temple square wept, rejoiced, and “understood the words that were declared unto them.”
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, please grant me the grace to share Your Word with others every day. May I understand the meaning of Scripture so that those to whom I’m hoping to communicate will understand and respond, as the people did in today’s reading. I pray for all who read this blog. May it be a strong Word from You! “Amen, Amen!”
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Dr. Rich Melheim has written a “must-read book” in my judgement. He gives five simple steps to help bring your family closer to God and each other. It is the most powerful family changer I’ve come across. This powerful volume is a huge blessing for every family that reads it. It’s called, “Holding Your Family Together.” Be sure to get a copy as a “thank you” from Crossroads/100 Huntley Street in return for your support of the ministry (click here for information). Also, the Crossroads team has compiled video teachings and interviews on marriage and the family into a section of Crossroads360.com. Click here to find it.
I’ve spent time in Jerusalem when thousands of families have built booths out of tree branches. The families actually eat, sleep, and visit with each other as described in today’s reading (Nehemiah 8:14-18). This lasted for eight days. Norma-Jean, our children and I have some of our favourite and most cherished memories from a time in the early 70’s when we got away from the pressures of daily life in our 1958 ex-bread truck, which was converted into a camper. We did this in the month of July for several years. No telephones, no appointments, no commitments other than to each other. Our hearts, as in the words of Malachi, were truly turned to each other. I highly recommend such quality time to families everywhere.
Yours to help us all to “understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8b),
P.S. Here is a link to a teaching on families by Dr. Rich Melheim.