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The Joy of Understanding

The Joy of Understanding

I remember watching my children play when they were toddlers. One would be building with legos or some building tool and the other would get this mischievous look on their face, plotting to knock it down. It was all about power. But when those same kids learned to read for the first time, they unlocked something greater and more powerful—the joy of understanding. Truly understanding enables us to overcome battles in our mind as we put on right thinking from God’s word. And it was understanding God’s word that brought the greatest joy to the people Ezra read and taught God’s word to.

Bible Reading: Nehemiah 7-9

If you wonder if your life counts for God, today’s reading starts off with an answer to that question.

In Nehemiah 7, the exiles are returning and being numbered in a genealogy. What an incredible moment to see God’s people returning after the wall has been built. But this same list is also in Ezra 2. Sometimes we can tend to gloss or skip over the genealogies like they have no purpose. But God wanted to make sure we knew the names of these people.

According to bible.org commentary, “In Ezra, this list of names of those who returned from Babylon under Zerubbabel in 536 B.C. served to document who was a true Jew. In Nehemiah, nearly a century later (444 B.C.), the list answers the question, “Who is available to repopulate the city and to provide for temple worship?” Nehemiah uses the list to instill in the people a reminder of their personal and national identity as God’s people and to encourage them to fulfill their responsibilities in light of this identity.”

“To count for God, commit yourself to the things that matter to God.”

The Joy of Understanding—Positions

Understanding what matters to God helps us to position ourselves to live according to his word. We have joy and we have purpose. Our lives matter because they are invested for eternity in the work and purposes of God in our lives.

Nehemiah understood his calling and he was careful as he carried it out. Notice in Nehemiah 7 that he carefully picked who would serve alongside him.

Nehemiah 7:2, “2 Then I put my brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem, along with Hananiah, commander of the fortress, because he was a faithful man who feared God more than most.”

Be careful who you place in a position to work with you. Choose people who understand God’s word and live by it.

The Joy of Understanding—Reading God’s Word Aloud

Nehemiah 8:2-3

“2 On the first day of the seventh month, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding. 3 While he was facing the square in front of the Water Gate, he read out of it from daybreak until noon before the men, the women, and those who could understand. All the people listened attentively to the book of the law. 5 Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, “Amen, Amen!” Then they knelt low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

The Joy of Understanding—Interpreting and Studying God’s Word

7 Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, who were Levites, explained the law to the people as they stood in their places. 8 They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read. 9 Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.

The Joy of Understanding—The Joy of the LORD is Your Strength

10 Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, since today is holy. Don’t grieve.” 12 Then all the people began to eat and drink, send portions, and have a great celebration, because they had understood the words that were explained to them.”

The Joy of Understanding—Responding to God’s Word

Friends, do we read God’s word out loud in our homes? In our churches? I am convicted by this. When my children were younger and I would try to have Bible time and read God’s word out loud and let’s just say it was challenging. Even now, we basically do our own devotional times, but reading this passage today reminds me of the importance of reading God’s word aloud.

But this scene in Nehemiah 8 was a scene of revival. People were attentive to God’s word. They sought to study and understand. They lifted their hands. And they wept. Then they cried out. And their joy was full. May God revive our hearts even now to treasure His word.

On the second day, Ezra took the heads of the families and studied the word of God. But notice that it was not just Ezra doing the studying and interpreting of God’s word. Many other Levites were doing so, as well.

The Joy of Understanding—Understanding Our History

In Nehemiah 9, the Levites give a lengthy history lesson of God’s people. When we understand where we have come from, we can understand what God has done for us. We need to remember what we came from to be able to appreciate where God has brought us.

We can get so caught up in the here and now that we lose perspective and lose understanding. But reading God’s word reminds us of what matters most so we can live with a right understanding and not waste this precious gift of life.

Scripture of the Day: Nehemiah 8:8

“They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read.”

Application

  • Seek out understanding from God’s word – not from the culture.
  • Cry out for understanding.
  • Live by what you understand.
  • Revival happened because God’s people heard and obeyed God’s word.
  • May God bring revival in our land.

𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘁 12 𝗽𝗺 𝗘𝗧.

Day #338: Nehemiah 7-9

𝒱𝑒𝓇𝓈𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒟𝒶𝓎: Nehemiah 8:8

“They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read.”

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