Reading Through the Bible, Monday, May 9. Nehemiah 8-10

    As the wall of Jerusalem was completed, a feeling of accomplishment and a spirit of unity prevailed on the participants.  Of their own accord the people gathered in the city and called on Ezra to come and read God’s Law.  Note that this “revival meeting” was not initiated by religious leaders; it was initiated by a people who had been repeatedly reminded of the hand of God in their successes (cf.  4:4, 9, 15).

    When Ezra came out, he did not preach an updated message.  He read the ancient law of God.  As he read, the religious leaders helped to explain it as he went along.  The next day, the political leaders gathered for intensive Bible training so that they would be able to teach others too.

    With the intensive study, it occurred to the leaders that they had not been observing the Feast of Tabernacles properly.  It required “camping out” (living “in booths”),  not exactly, even for their time, a modern way of doing things.  In ignoring this simple instruction, the feast had failed to remind them that when God provided them deliverance, he called them to a lifestyle different from that of the world.  This yearly reminder had not been observed properly for nearly a thousand years!

    Christians must be careful in “updating” the will of the Lord.  When God is specific about how He wants something done, one should follow God’s way.