Episode 81 - From broken to whole: the life-changing influence of the Word of God
In this episode, Jen and AJ are looking at Nehemiah chapter 8. At this point, the wall was rebuilt, but they were not ready to end the togetherness that they had and the centrality of God that they had experienced through the building of the wall.
What is the longest sermon you’ve ever listened to? What about the longest biblical teaching you’ve ever sat through?
We are asking that because in Nehemiah, 42,000 people gathered together and stood up for an approximately six-hour sermon. *oh emoji*
If you have been following along, during the month of May we’ve been through the book of Nehemiah. Up until chapter 7 we learned the oppositions that Nehemiah and his people faced. One came from within in the form of a group of Jews that were being unfair and cheating each other.
Yet God inspired them to move from a group of people who had been cheating each other to a group who listened to a day long sermon and applied what they heard.
“All the people gathered as one man, so their hearts were completely united around. The desire to hear the word of God.” They had been working towards this mission together. They had been united in their mission for so long and now continued into wanting to hear from the Lord. It’s when they asked Ezra (the author of the Book of Ezra), to bring the book of the law and read it to them.
This was not a habit they had been doing over the years. This is very encouraging for us as well, because while the people focused on the physical wall, God wanted more than that. He wanted their hearts. He breathed this desire into them.
If you are at a place where spending time in God’s word is not a habit for you either, that can change.
The Holy Spirit can build that yearning in our lives. And as we get into the Word more and more and we study it and we read it, even if we don't necessarily feel like it, then that yearning will grow and we won't want to leave it either.
Don't be discouraged if you don't feel super passionate about it, if you feel like these people were a little bit crazy for sitting there all day long, don't feel discouraged about that. God can build that in your heart as well.
We also see in this passage that being around other people who do have passion can help us get motivated in our walk with the Lord.
Put yourself around others who are motivated, because that is a great way to be reminded of what is possible, what we could have, that intimacy with the Lord that is possible and the benefits of doing so. When you see the joy in their lives and you see the passion and the way God is speaking with them, that is motivation to get back in it ourselves.
Although the Holy Spirit can speak to anyone and anything, sometimes, isn't it helpful to have someone else help make sense of it for us? Sometimes, this is where faithful teachers, faithful preachers, and a local church come into play.
You have faithful leaders and teachers and preachers of the word who can help you to make sense of it as well.
There's no such thing as doing church alone at home. We are part of a bigger body of Christ and we all have different giftings. And we need each other's giftedness to attain to the maturity that we see is possible in scripture.
Right here in Nehemiah, we see something that's being explained more fully for us in the New Testament when it talks about the church in Ephesians.
We also see that the people, after hearing the Word, grieved. When we read the word of God or when we see something fresh in God's Word and then we look back on our lives and we realize, “I've missed however many years of understanding this truth.” Our hearts can grieve too.
God's word should feed us and be revelatory for the rest of our lives. But that can cause a sense of grief and regret in us sometimes. We need to rejoice that we now know something going forward that we can take action on, that we can allow to shape our lives. We can't get mired in the past. We can't stay where we're at. We can decide to move forward with the truths that we're given at any point in our lives.
It doesn't matter what age we're at. There are always things to learn and it's easy for us to be saddened by that, that we didn't know such and such earlier in our lives, and yet that's not where we need to camp.
We need to be hopeful and face forward and take those truths and run with them. To the best of our ability with the strength of the Lord, living them out for the rest of our days and forgetting what's behind us.
We can take that regret and refocus it. Refocus that shame that we feel, because we all have those feelings, so we can refocus that shame on the mercy and the grace that we've been given to even be now aware of it.
No matter where you are in your life, if you're aware, if you're convicted, if you feel that to any degree, that's a grace from God.
We can praise God for that, and we can move forward from where we are now and allow the mourning to come, allow the weeping to come.
Remember God's grace, God's goodness, even in the fact that he gave us this story to touch our hearts, so many thousands of years later. This is a powerful book. Read the book from cover to cover, page to page. It will bless your life.
There's a lot in this chapter, so we encourage you to go read it because there's a lot to learn from it.
Feel free to jump in on our study of the book of Nehemiah at any time at sojoacademy.com.
Study the Book of Nehemiah in more depth with a 4-week Bible Study Bundle with a full Bible Study, a printable Bible journaling kit, Scripture reading and writing plan, and BONUS videos FIND IT HERE.
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Need a little extra encouragement to help you stay strong in the face of life's challenges? Our Nehemiah Scripture Cards offer a daily dose of inspiration and wisdom - reminding you that with God's help, you can overcome anything!
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