Neh 8-10 Rededicating Lives

Nehemiah 8:1-10:39  January 14 2007

The Jews assembled and fasted. They separated
themselves from the foreigners and confessed
their sins. The Levites reviewed the history of
God’s actions in history, including the creation
of the world, God’s choice of Abraham, the
oppression in Egypt, the liberation under Moses’
leadership, their wandering in the wilderness.
the conquest of Canaan, and their continuing
sinful behavior. The Levites also stressed God’s
compassion. The people made a binding agreement
with God.

1. Read God’s Word (Neh. 8:1,5-6,9-10)

Neh. 8:1   all the people assembled as one man in the
square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the
scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses,
which the LORD had commanded for Israel. 8:5   Ezra
opened the book. All the people could see him because
he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the
people all stood up. 8:6   Ezra praised the LORD, the
great God; and all the people lifted their hands and
responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and
worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 8:9
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe,
and the Levites who were instructing the people said
to them all, “This day is sacred to the LORD your God.
Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been
weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 8:10
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet
drinks, and send some to those who have nothing
prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve,
for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

According to the traditional view, the reading of
the Law by Ezra would be the first reference to
him in almost 13 years since his arrival in
458 B.C. Since he was commissioned to teach the
Law (Ezr 7:6,10,14,25-26), it is surprising that
there was such a long delay in its public
proclamation. All The People Assembled. Ezr 3:1,
which also refers to an assembly called in the
seventh month (Tishri), the beginning of the civil
year ( Exodus 12:2). Square Before The Water Gate.
See Ezr 10:9. Squares were normally located near
a city gate (2Ch 32:6). Scribe. See Ezr 7:6. Four views
have been proposed concerning the extent of this
Book: (1) a collection of legal materials, (2) the
priestly laws of Exodus and Leviticus, (3) the laws of
Deuteronomy, (4) the Pentateuch. Surely Ezra could
have brought back with him the Torah, i.e., the entire
Pentateuch. Scroll (see Ex 17:14). People All Stood Up.
The rabbis deduced from this verse that the
congregation should stand for the reading of the
Torah. It is customary in Eastern Orthodox churches
for the congregation to stand throughout the
service. Lifted Their Hands. See Ex 9:29 and ;
Ps 28:2; 134:2; 1Ti 2:8. AMEN! AMEN! See Dt 27:15;
Ro 1:25. The repetition conveys the intensity of
feeling behind the affirmation (for other repetitions
see Ge 22:11 and 2Ki 11:14; Lk 23:21). Worshiped. In
its original sense the Hebrew for this verb meant
“to prostrate oneself on the ground,” as the
frequently accompanying phrase “to the ground”
indicates. Private acts of worship often involved
prostration “to the ground,” as in the case of
Abraham’s servant (Ge 24:52), Moses (Ex 34:8),
Joshua (Jos 5:14) and Job (Job 1:20). There are
three cases of spontaneous communal worship in
Exodus (4:31; 12:27; 33:10). In 2Ch 20:18
Jehoshaphat and the people “fell down in worship
before the Lord” when they heard his promise
of victory. NEHEMIAH. . . EZRA. An explicit reference
showing that they were contemporaries (see
12:26,36). Do Not Mourn. See Ezr 10:6 and  Est 9:22;
Isa 57:18-19; Jer 31:13. Ezr 3:13 and See; 10:1.
Choice Food. Delicious festive food prepared with
much fat. The fat of sacrificial animals was offered
to God as the tastiest element of the burnt offering
(Lev 1:8,12), the fellowship offering (Lev 3:9-10),
the sin offering (Lev 4:8-10) and the guilt offering
(Lev 7:3-4). The fat was not to be eaten in these
cases. Send some to those who have nothing. It was
customary for God’s people to remember the less
fortunate on joyous occasions (2Sa 6:19; Est 9:22;
contrast 1Co 11:20-22; Jas 2:14-16).

2. Repent and Confess Sins (Neh. 9:1-2)

Neh. 9:1   On the twenty-fourth day of the same month,
the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing
sackcloth and having dust on their heads. 9:2   Those of
Israelite descent had separated themselves from all
foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed
their sins and the wickedness of their fathers.

The ninth chapters of Ezra, Nehemiah and Daniel
are devoted to confessions of national sin and to
prayers for God’s grace. (9:1) Twenty-Fourth Day.
Oct. 30, 445 B.C.; a day of penance in the spirit of
the Day of Atonement, which was held on the tenth
day (Lev 16:29-30). Fasting. . . Sackcloth. . . Dust.
See Ge 37:34; Ezr 8:23; 10:6; Joel 1:13-14.

The Levites presented a long account of God’s
dealings with His people. Nehemiah 9:5-37 is a
valuable summary of Hebrew History, Moving from
God’s creation of the world to their situation in the
day of Ezra and Nehemiah. The Levites of ten
mentioned the sinfulness of God’s people and God’s
compassion for them. When they sinned, god punished
them; when they repented , God forgave them
(9:26-28). The Levites acknowledged that the Jews
were again “in great distress”(9:37)

3. Return To God’s Ways (Neh. 9:38;10:28-29)

Neh. 9:38   “In view of all this, we are making a binding
agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our
Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.”
10:28   “The rest of the people —priests, Levites,
gatekeepers, singers, temple servants and all who
separated themselves from the neighboring peoples
for the sake of the Law of God, together with their
wives and all their sons and daughters who are able
to understand — 10:29   all these now join their
brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse
and an oath to follow the Law of God given through
Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all
the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD
our Lord.

Rule Over Our Bodies. See 1Sa 8:11-13. The Persian
rulers drafted their subjects into military service.
Some Jews may have accompanied Xerxes on his
invasion of Greece in 480 B.C. Gatekeepers. See
Ezr 2:42. Wives. . . Sons and Daughters. Neh. 8:2.
(Neh.10:31-33) Perhaps a code drawn up by Nehemiah
to correct the abuses listed in 13:15-22. (10:31) Sell
on the Sabbath. Though Ex 20:8-11; Dt 5:12-15 do not
explicitly prohibit trading on the Sabbath, see Jer
17:19-27; Am 8:5. Seveth Year. . . Forgo Working the
Land. . . Cancel all debts. See Lev 25:4. The Romans
misrepresented the Sabbath and the sabbath year as
caused by laziness. According to Tacitus, the Jews
“were led by the charms of indolence to give over
the seventh year as well to inactivity.”


Studying God’s word today can help us
remember His expectations for us. We maybe easily
overwhelmed by the obligations of everyday life, but
Bible study can focus our attention on what really
matters in life. Systematic Bible study provides a
spiritual compass for us as we establish and live out
our priorities.
Why would someone need to make his or her
rededication to Christ public? Wouldn’t you feel more
accountable to God and other believers if you make
your rededication publicly?