27 All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father… 28 Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:27-29
In Nehemiah 8, the Israelites asked Ezra, the priest, and scribe, to read the Law of Moses, which the Lord had given Israel to obey. The Levites…then instructed the people in the Law while everyone remained in their places. They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage. Nehemiah 8:7-8
As we read the first verse of Nehemiah 8, we find that the people asked for the Law of Moses to be read to them. Why would they gather as a whole community and ask for God’s Law to be read to them? Because of their love for God, they possessed the desire to live righteously and in unity as Believers. Without the scriptures, we would be left to our imaginations to define right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, and holiness. God forbid!
Our profession of faith extends beyond words. Our commitment to God is based on our love for Him. It is love that produces obedience and the desire to develop a character aligned with Galatians 5:22-23. What else would motivate us to attend church, the mosque, the synagogue, the temple, etc.? We gather to worship our Creator and be around fellow believers. (With the current health risks, we can certainly appreciate and be thankful that we had the experience of worshiping together and hearing the Word of God.)
The Bible is our spiritual mirror. God has given us the Bible not only to define and clarify His standards but also to provide us with a historical overview of humanity’s falls and triumphs when they relied on his Divine Intervention. The scriptures reveal that God’s character is based on love; the Bible is the Voice of God. For us to attain spiritual growth, we have the responsibility of studying the Word of God daily.
Do we have the desire to have an up-close and personal relationship with God? Reflecting on the people, places, and things that we pursue answers this important question, “Am I living to please God or myself?” It is our priorities that reveal where we stand in our relationship with God. Sanctification requires that we set ourselves apart from all worldly sins and strive to live a holy and consecrated life. Our spiritual journey is a life-long pursuit. The Plan of Salvation requires turning away from all sin in any form.
It is through faith that we accept the invisible God, and obey his precepts as found in the Bible. God has provided a road-map that reveals the only way that we can be saved, and that is to believe in Jesus Christ who died for our sins, and was resurrected. It is the faithful who obediently place their lives in God’s hands, and seek to live a righteous and holy life.
Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Romans 6:12
We do not live by the concept of “once saved, always saved.” Our struggle against sin is daily. We must confess, repent, and live holy and acceptable lives according to God’s standards of righteousness. Searching the scriptures reinforces God’s love and His promises to humanity. The Bible also identifies and reminds us of our responsibilities when we make a covenant to serve God.
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Nehemiah 8:9
It comes as no surprise that the people cried as they listened to the scriptures. We cannot hide from the exposure of our transgressions and sinful desires when we read and hear God’s Word. True conversion reveals itself through remorse, confession, and repentance; the pleasures of sin produces sorrow and painful consequences. Yes, our hearts should be saddened by our iniquities, but God through His grace and mercies never leaves or forsake us.
God was aware that human beings would be disobedient and possess selfish desires. Because of love, He created us, and Jesus made a covenant with His Father to die for us. The Plan of Salvation included Redemption, which necessitated the death of God’s perfect, never-sinning Son, Jesus Christ. We should always live with a spirit of gratitude by focusing on God’s love and Jesus’ commitment to providing us with an option to avoid the final death.
God is love! He never leaves us feeling hopeless or destitute. Forgiveness allows us to start over at any time when we fall, and that is reason to rejoice!
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10
We have this hope that Jesus is coming again to gather those who have made the commitment to serve him. By dedicating our whole hearts, souls, and minds to God, we prepare ourselves for Eternal life. “Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of prophecy in this book.” Revelation 22:7. The Bible reveals the ungodly sins and characteristics that we possess, but Redemption covers us through forgiveness when we approach God with humble hearts.
Rejoice that we have the Word of God! Rejoice for the Plan of Salvation! Rejoice that we have God the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit as our spiritual team, always promoting hope! Rejoice that our Burden-bearer has promised to give us rest, which is peace despite our circumstances!
Bible Reading: Nehemiah 8
God, we praise you for creating us in your image. We thank you for approving the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus, who died to give us Redemption. Please forgive our sins and shortcomings. We love you and commit to living holy and acceptable lives as we wait for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We ask for your Divine Intervention in our lives. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.