September 27, 2022
Nehemiah is an amazing account of one of the great revivals in human history. The Jews had rebelled against God, been in captivity, and been overcome by the Babylonians for many, many years.
True to form, God still had His hand on His people and miraculously allowed Nehemiah to return and rebuild the walls, which was accomplished in 52 days.
Now the people came to the city to meet together as a nation. What do they do? They made a small, wooden platform and called the godliest one they knew, Ezra, along with other priests, to simply read the word of God and translate it to "give the sense so that they understood the reading" (Nehemiah 8:8). This is called PREACHING.
THE POWER OF THE WORD
What were the results of godly men preaching and teaching God’s Word to an attentive people? It was one of the most significant nationwide, Word-centered, Spirit-empowered revivals in history!
As the people realized how far short they were falling, they began to weep and mourn "For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law:" (8:9). They did this "because they understood the words which had been made known to them" (8:12).
The people had not done what God desired. They immediately corrected this, preparing to celebrate the Feast of Booths. This was a feast they had neglected, but they began to observe to remind them of what God had done for them in the exodus from Egypt to the Promised land.
For the next seven days, as prescribed by God in the Word they had heard, they "stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth, they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God" (9:2-3).
Then, they wrote a new covenant to be faithful before God, and the leaders signed it first, then all the people. It was a full, nationwide revival.
One of the great results of returning to the Lord was the return of the practice of bringing the first fruits of everything to the Lord. This is called “tithing,” i.e, to bring a tenth (literally) of all we have been given to the One who gave it to us, which is taught by God in both Old and New Testaments and still to be practiced. This is a constant reminder of the Author of all and the means of God’s provision of His work. It is amazing how prominent this return to the pattern of Biblical giving was in this nationwide revival.
Where did this all begin? The God-initiated, timely preaching of the Word of God. Never forget that God's Word is "like a hammer that shatters the rock." It is one of God's primary means to advance His kingdom and accomplish His purposes. We must never neglect nor minimize it. And we should put ourselves under the sound of faithful, Biblical preaching and bring others we love to do the same.
Father, help us to preach Your Word faithfully, listen attentively, repent fully, and obey aggressively. Bring us back, Lord, to this Nehemiah moment. Send a sweeping revival to your people and a spiritual awakening across our nation.
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023