Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 7-8
Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).
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Key Verse: Nehemiah 8:12
And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.
Imagine the scene. A choir of 245 singers and Ezra, the priest, stepping forward to lead the worship, the prayers, and the reading of Scripture. When Ezra blessed the Lord, the people said, “Amen, Amen,” lifted up their hands, and bowed their heads. This was not only reading, it was expository preaching, giving the sense of the passage, and helping the people understand the reading. We would be blessed to have such a meeting in our places of worship! “Amen, Amen.”
Malachi, the Prophet author of the last book in the Hebrew Scriptures, was there. He was probably participating as a Levite. Over and over “the children” are mentioned in the list of families present. Malachi proclaimed that God would “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6a). These are the final words of the last book in the Bible from which Jesus and the Apostles would have read. This bonding of families was happening as the people in the temple square wept, rejoiced, and “understood the words that were declared unto them.”
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, please grant me the grace to share Your Word with others every day. May I understand the meaning of Scripture so that those to whom I’m hoping to communicate will understand and respond, as the people did in today’s reading. I pray for all who read this blog. May it be a strong Word from You! “Amen, Amen!”
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Dr. Hannah Shaheen, M.D. is one of our 16 grandchildren (picture below). She is spending the summer serving in a small community hospital in Mindemoya, Manitoulin Island, Ontario. As highlighted in today’s reading, family is very, very important to Norma-Jean and me. To spend TIME (spelled LOVE) with Hannah, we crossed Lake Huron yesterday afternoon on the ferry ship from Tobermory to South Bay Mouth. She met us there and our first stop was a museum which took us back to our childhoods in one room country schools (picture below).
Norma-Jean, our children and I have some of our favourite and most cherished memories from a time in the 70’s when we got away from the pressures of daily life in our old 1958 ex-bread truck, which had been converted into a camper named Jonah (sometimes like the prophet, it didn’t want to go!). We did this in the month of July for several years. No telephones, no appointments, no commitments other than to each other. Our hearts, as in the words of Malachi, were truly turned to each other. I highly recommend such quality time to families everywhere.
Yours to help us all to “understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8b),
P.S. I believe that our priorities should be God first, family second, ministry and work in general third.