As One Nehemiah 8: 1
People gather for all sorts of reasons they gather to celebrate they gather to commiserate and grieve. Gathering for protests to oppose or support things seems to be happening a lot lately. However a bunch of people gathered together in one place at one time does not signify a unity or uniformity of thought and desire. often people who are opposed will be gathered together around a different cause. Here in this passage we see a different gathering of people they have come together in the square, gathered as one man we are told. In here we see true unity despite diversity the people are of one mind and of one purpose, indivisible as it were. What has gathered them? a party a protest not its the reading of the word of God. These people returned exiles have not been in this situation before gathered in a rebuilt Jerusalem gathered as one tribe. It it they the people who as for the ‘book’ to be opened. Many have never seen or heard it read before yet this does not diminish their hunger for it.
8:1 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel.
‘All’ the people gathered as ‘one man’. There were no social financial, positional divides here in the same manner they had worked on the wall side by side toiling under the hot sun all equal in the sight of God. This is how they meet now. Equal in the sight of God hungry for his word to be read longing to know more of Him. The American political system has some great things wrapped up in it and here is one.
Declaration of Independence… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
* These returned exile Jews are all gather together equal and united.
* They meet together for a joint purpose… they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law.
Don’t overlook this small but incredibly significant point here. ‘They’ told Ezra to bring the book. This was not the minister leading the congregation or the Governor holding a meeting… This is a people united as one, a people hungry; thirsty; desiring urgently the word of God.
What does this say… The word is a priority for them. They recognise its necessity for living a Godly life. Since the time of Babylonian captivity until now the public reading of the word has been neglected. These people are coming from a barren place and they are desirous of Gods leading and direction. They thirst for it like a parched desert looks to the rain clouds for relief. How can can they and we know what to do, where to go, how to live and who we are; if we do not turn to God. God has expressly chosen to give us revelation of himself in his word the bible. It is the only book He has promised to bless by his spirt, to transform us into the image of Jesus. The Bible is the only book that he has promised to use to bring our hearts, our minds, and our lives into alignment with him.
The Bible is the portrait of Jesus Christ. – John Stott
The Bible teaches that true joy is formed in the midst of the difficult seasons of life. – Francis Chan
“We have settled far too long for ‘Bible Lite’, both as individual Christians and in the community of faith. We have adopted a Christianity consumed with little devotional thoughts from God for the day, supplemented by teaching in the church filled with entertaining stories and trite opinions on how to be a better person and live a better life in the 21st century.” David Platt (radical)
Biblical preaching and bible reading are in decline today ‘To our Peril’.
““We have settled far too long for ‘Bible Lite’, both as individual Christians and in the community of faith. We have adopted a Christianity consumed with little devotional thoughts from God for the day, supplemented by teaching in the church filled with entertaining stories and trite opinions on how to be a better person and live a better life in the 21st century.”
David Platt (radical)”