Revival and Renewal
Book of Nehemiah Chapter 8
The title of this lesson could have been, “The Revival of a Nation”!
We should clearly understand that walls can only do so much. What kept Israel safe was a relationship with God the Father, as a nation.
What will keep America safe? When the majority of people have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I believe there was a time in America that this was true, but now the Church has become lazy, and even worse the Church has allowed the world to get inside the Church and the walls of the Church are crumbling and falling down.
What worked in the day of Nehemiah and Ezra will work again today, to revive God’s Church and get back to the business of redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Isaiah said send me.
As Ezra said send me.
As Nehemiah said send me.
We of the Church have got to take a stand and say Lord send us!!!!!
The Word of God already teaches us God’s blessings and it is only by the Word of God that we can bring revival back to the United States of America and only by the revival of God’s people.
If we want to see change in America, then we have to get back to the truth of God’s Word and live by God’s standards!
We do not need those books that have eliminated the truth of God, we must have the old standards and truths of the Scriptures. There are no new interpretations of the Scriptures. What God said the Jews He is saying to us, rightly divided.
What God has said about sin is the same for today!
Let’s see how Nehemiah describes what happened:
*****Neh 8:1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.
How do we revive our nation?
We must have a desire to live according to the Word of God!!!!!!
With all the things that had happened since Zerubbabel brought that first group back to Jerusalem from the captivity caused by Nebuchadnezzar, these people had seen that Jehovah God had been the key to success.
God’s Word had proven to be true over and over again!
The men who would stand up and speak the Word of God would not be charlatans, but they would be scholars of the Word of God.
A scholar is anyone to takes the Word of God as the truth, and teaches the fundamentals and the doctrines of the Scriptures.
We should all be scholars of God’s Word!!!!!
We notice immediately is was the people who demanded to hear what God has said and they spoke with one voice.
Ezr 3:1 And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together “as one man to Jerusalem”.
They had lived under the pagan laws of the world and there was not much truth in those things.
Most of them had not heard the Word of God at all.
Some had preserved what God had said, and taught as many as they could while in captivity.
It is hard to believe anything when you are a slave in a foreign country!!!!!
They went straight to the one man they trusted with the truth, which was Ezra and said to him, “teach us the laws of Moses”.
These were the laws that God had given to Moses for the Children of Israel, after the escape from Egypt.
They did not want some modern version, they wanted the truth of God, because they were tired of lies, they hungered for the truth!
*****Neh 8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
Neh 8:3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
For those who do not know, the Jews had 613 laws that concerned their daily lives. Much more that the 10 Commandments that we usually think of.
The very first law is the one broke most often by us all!!!!!
Deu 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
If we loved the Lord as we claim, then we would obey Him in all things!
The truth is, the Lord proves over and over that He is worthy of worship and praise. As Christians we owe the Lord our lives and our freedom.
So many have forgotten the truth of God, and are twisted in their thought patterns. by unscrupulous men who intend to see them fail.
God has blessed His Word as the instrument of the Church!!!!!
It is Bible truth that has changed the lives of so many and not the world which only teaches lies!!!!!!!!
Ezra had remained loyal to God all his days. He had made sure the Word of God, (by the Holy Spirit) had been preserved in its purity all his days and on this day, he had gotten the opportunity to preach, read, instruct, deliver the pure Word of God, to all those who had gathered in the city square of Jerusalem, the city of God.
These people had a renewed trust in their God Jehovah, who had done everything He said He would about their captivity and their freedom.
When you are on the receiving end of God’s truth, you never forget what God has done for you!!!!!!
Many of these people had never heard the Word of God, they had only heard the stories that others had said about it.
So all these people gathered for one thing and that was to hear the laws concerning their way of life.
We can be fools if we want to, but we all need directions in the purity of life and the thoughts of our Creator!!!!!
The Words of the Bible teach us the ways of our Creator and His character, and He simply ask us to be more like Him and He teaches us how we can do that.
As Christians we may not have those 613 laws, but we certainly are to be obedient to the Ten Commandments and again we may ask ourselves why, but it shows we are willing to trust God!!!!!!!
Again the greatest of those laws is to love our Creator, who is Jehovah God to the Jews and the Lord Jesus Christ to all Christians.
They are One and the same person!!!!!!!
Ezra had been in Jerusalem for possibly 13 years or more. He had set up the worship in the Temple and installed the priests to their functions and the Nethinims to their functions and he had beautified the inner parts of the Temple.
The people had never gathered in the way they had gathered this day!
It was the walls being rebuilt that had given them security that had caused them to gather in such a quantity on this day.
Nehemiah was a worthy “Governor” and “Ezra” was a worthy man of God. People they could trust.
We have many similarities in the USA today. We have a worthy President. We have the pure Word of God. We just do not that feeling of security because so many fought against the building a wall for security but have built the many walls of sin to surround us.
The Bible says that Ezra read from daylight until noon and still this congregation was inspired by what he read.
There is only One other who we know that read the Word of God and explained it better than Ezra and it was the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mat 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
Mat 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
We might ask ourselves, when were pulpits first used?
*****Neh 8:4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Matthias, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
Neh 8:5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
Neh 8:6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
This may not be the time of the first pulpit, but it tells of the need for the pulpit.
We know that radio has its special place, but most people would rather see who is doing the talking.
In reality, Ezra was obedient to the Lord by being bold enough to stand before these people and give the Word of God.
This is a great example for every Preacher and also for every Christian.
We can also see that the government endorsed this event as Nehemiah was now the Governor of Israel.
This platform was built large enough to hold 14 men.
The first thing we notice is that when Ezra open the Book (scrolls) these people showed reverence to the Word of God by standing.
No one told them to stand, they just stood in reverence to the Word of God.
I’m sure they did not stand for the entire 6 hours. It is also to be expected that these other 13 men would assist Ezra in the reading of the Word of God.
From this time on, the Jewish nation stood for the reading of the Word of God, a practice we observe in my church, named Gethsemane.
Another thing Ezra and these 13 men did was to “make sense of the Word”.
They preached the message of God and how to apply it to their daily lives!
You see, if we do reverence the Word of God for what it is, the inerrant, infallible, non-changing, perfect, Word of God, then we are not true believers.
The Word of God is not only true, but it is the truth. There is no higher authority than the written Word of God!
2Pe_1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
For those who sit quietly in their pews, we see it is OK to say Amen when we hear the true Word of God and its meaning!
We should never sit quietly to hear any twisted version or a false preacher, they need to be run out of our assemblies.
We must remember it is the people who are the Church, the Bride of Christ!
We can also see the lifting up of the hands as a form of worship. To worship is to celebrate the Truth of God, without being ridiculous.
We do these things in reverence to our Savior.
When we raise up our hands, they need to be “Holy Hands”!
A proper appreciation of God’s Word is necessary for spiritual success!!!!!!
Our worship service should not only be joyous, and unselfish, but be as God demands, “in Spirit and Truth!
Joh_4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh_4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
You see, now after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, at His first coming, now is the time to worship our Father in Heaven, by the means of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, whichever way you want to say it!
We must humble ourselves before our mighty God, and there is only One, His name is Jehovah and the Lord Jesus Christ!
For those who had trouble understanding, these men were provided to help them understand.
This is the way of making disciples!
***** Neh 8:7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
Neh 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
You see there is no one who should walk away from the house of God, that does not understand the truth of the Sermon, nor the application of the Word of God.
The Word of God is intended to be applied to our lives and by this, will those who are lost see a great change in us!
Psa 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Psa 119:10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Psa 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
The key to understanding is to realize that the entire Bible is about our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ!
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Joh 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
As we can see by the destruction of the Temple, the synagogue and the church how hold the importance for understanding the Word of God!
There was no one in this assembly was not informed of the truth of God!!!!!!
Remember once we hear the Word of God, we must make our decision to believe or to not believe!
Reminds us that day of Pentecost with the Apostles.
Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Act 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Act 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
Just so we know, every man in this assembly heard the Word of God in his own tongue. That word tongues, has the meaning of language.
Each one in their assembly heard the Word of God in his own language.
This was the gift of tongues and not something heard that even God did not hear, not some mumbling of the Holy Spirit.
We see again that Nehemiah was indeed the Governor of Israel.
*****Neh 8:9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
Tirshatha means Nehemiah was Persian Governor of Judea, Ezra was now the recognized High Priest and remained a Scribe all his days.
The Levites, the descendants of Aaron, were the teachers and they taught the people according to the truth of God.
This day was not to be a day of sadness but a day of rejoicing.
The Word of God never brings sadness. It is sad only to those who desire to keep their sin and refuse to give it up!!!!!!
Giving up your sin is not a requirement for salvation, but once you love the Lord Jesus you will want to be more like Him, and Jesus our Savior had no sin at all, and this is to be our own goal!
Jesus Christ will help you to do away with your, sin just as He did me and many others by taking the “I Want To” out of your life.
I do not have a desire to sin, in fact I hate sin and every true believer will think along these same lines.
To be Christian is to be “Like Jesus Christ”!
The day of these things was most probable a new-moon day.
These people were sad because they felt the guilt of not knowing the Word of God as they should have and they felt a danger that God would once again send them into captivity, but if we will do as His Word says, and He will never go against His own Words!
There is a great need for the Christian community to study the Word of God!!!!!!
You cannot study the Scriptures unless you choose a Bible that is translated from the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts.
Be very selective when choosing your Bible!!!!!
The Bible is its own best commentary, but you can get some help and thoughts from some of the commentaries, but again be very selective in choosing those commentaries!!!!!!
You will also need at least one dictionary and there are good biblical dictionaries.
We must keep in mind that these Scriptures were written in a time different from our own time, yet the Scriptures are just as relevant today as they were then, but we must consider these things.
It is most important that we know that the pure Word of God is the truth of God!!!!!!
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
It was now time to go back to their homes and meditate on what they had learned this day.
You see it was decision time!
*****Neh 8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Neh 8:11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.
Every day we spend time in the Scriptures is a holy day!
We get alone with God when we pray, and we also get alone with God when we spend time with God’s Word.
We must treat the Scriptures as the very Word of God because this is the truth!!!!!!
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
God the Holy Spirit inspired all the Word of God in many ways to those 40 or more men who actually penned those words for us!
When Ezra gave these words to the people he was saying, this was a joyful day and not one of fasting and grief.
Sure the Word of God convicted them of their sin, but it also showed them the means of redemption.
They need only repent and return to the Lord!!!!!!!!!
This day was probably the opening day of the Feast of the Tabernacles.
Lev 23:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Lev 23:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
Lev 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
Lev 23:39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
Lev 23:40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
Lev 23:41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
Lev 23:42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:
Lev 23:43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Lev 23:44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
Surely it was a time to help those who could not help themselves!!!!!!!
It was a holy day so there should be no signs of mourning, but a day of remembering all the good things God had for them.
It was by their own disobedience that they had suffered but those days would be over, if they remained obedient to the Lord.
Hab 2:20 But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
Zep 1:7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.
It will be the same when the Lord returns:
Zec 2:10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
Zec 2:11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
Zec 2:12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.
Zec 2:13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.
It was a day of peaceful celebration because they had heard the Word of God and they had understood it!
*****Neh 8:12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
We must understand all the great revivals in our history began with a hunger for the truth of God!!!!!
This comes only by His Words and those who preach God’s Words and not their own words!!!!!!
There is truly a sweetness in God’s Peace!!!!!!
There is a dire need today within all societies for all Christian believers to study the Word of God, and awaken those who do not know the truth of God!
The Word of God does not only teach the commandments of God, but it teaches us how to be obedient to those commandments!
Here in the Bible belt of America many have become insensitive to the Word of God because it is heard so often, so we treat our Bibles like we treat other books and we need to get back the joy of the truth of God and avoid the miseries of this world.
We can still have the peace of God!!!!!
Php_4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
It is the wondrous Word of God that keeps us motivated, in the immoral society of today.
We know the truth and it is not our truth to keep from others, it is indeed the truth that needs to be heard by all others and explained to all others!
The Word of God will also arouse us to show compassion to those who are without and those who are abused by the world today.
You want to make your life better!
Get into the Word of God and study and believe!!!!!!
Ask the Holy Spirit for His help!!!!!
We must understand that God has no secrets that He is trying to hide from us!
These people had seen the Temple rebuilt and so what, that it was not as glorious as the first Temple. Most had not seen the Temple of Solomon.
These people had seen the city of Israel restored and so what, that there were still signs of destruction.
These people had seen the walls of the city restored so they could have that sense of security that comes with walls.
The Word of God that also contained much of the history of their nation was again restored as the Words of Life.
God had met their needs, so it was not a time to grieve, it was a time to celebrate!
What do we have to complain about today?
It is still a time to study the Word of God to know the truth of God.
Jesus Christ is the God of the Bible.
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
We already have the pure Word of Life. Read it and understand the Love of God!