Was this a new idea when the people asked Ezra to read the Book of the Law? (Deut 31:12)
No, it was part of their culture, faith and national identity. The people wanted to be who their ancestors were. They wanted the old Jerusalem back, the Old Israel, The Old God who went before them.
What was in the Book of the Law that was read? What was it?
Their story of God’s interaction with the nation of Israel. Identity and Faith.
Do you think they read the 5 books of Moses and explained it before lunch?
No, they would have had featured texts and teachings each day.
Continue reading (Nehemiah 8:13-19) to see this in action (and to see a great reason for yearly campmeeting!)
Who was invited to this 7th month reading ritual? Deut 31:12
Men, women, kids, visitors, neighbours.
“Those who could understand.”
Who is missing in Neh 8:2? Where is the alien?
Driven out during the building phase. What does this suggest about their seperation from their neighbours? (It was likely a tribal response rather than a God commissioned act)
What was the result of this day of reading the Book of the Law? (Neh 8:8)
They heard their own story and what it meant to be the people of God. True Israel’s identity.
The origional purpose of the 7th month reading was to bring the story of God to people. It would tell the visitor who these people were. Jewish children would hear the source material for how their parents lived and lead. The parents would receive reinforcement and renewal in their purpose and identity. Israel’s identity would be clarified and recommissioned.
Done regularly, this Reading of the Law would create and maintain a people of God ready to serve Him and trained up to parent the next generation. What had the century without Jerusalem and a temple done to the Israelite community?
Left them without understanding, identity or purpose.
In Neh 8, what was the reason the people wanted the Book of the Law read to them?
They want to know their own story. The people want to know who they were meant to be. There are no ‘informed parents’ in this scenario. They are asking for guidance.
What type of reading are we needing today?
Have we forgotten our story?
Are we parenting with purpose?
Are there people among us who are new to the faith?
Do we need to tell our story more intentionally?
When we hear the Book of the Law read and explained into our lives, what is a proper/expected/reasonable response to hearing the old story and realising your place and identity in God’s Kingdom? (Neh 8:9-12)
Hearing the Law brings conviction
Weeping brings change
Rejoicing brings community
The Spiritual leaders (Nehemiah, Ezra, Levites) instructed the people in three areas. What were they?
Head – Understanding the Law (leads to conviction and weeping. Clear reading and intentional interpretation is foundational in the Kingdom of God.)
Heart – Joy as a response to Conviction (many people will not do this on their own. They will look for the next area that needs change and continue weeping as they see their own endless sinfulness. A spirutal leader commands celebration of the wins - both small and large.)
Home – Celebrate at Home (Making our homes centres of celebration, sharing, eating and joyfulness will strengthen the core of God’s kingdom – our families)
Do our spiritual leaders do this? Where are we strong? Where are we weak?