In the grand tapestry of life, the Word of God is as vital as the air we breathe. Just as we inhale and exhale to sustain our physical existence, our souls need the nourishment of the divine scriptures. Nehemiah 8:1-12, a profound passage from the Bible, paints a vivid picture of the people’s response to the Word of God. In this blog post, we will explore five essential ways in which we, as believers, respond to the Word of God.
- Respond to the Word of God with Careful Listening
Nehemiah 8:1-3 opens with the people gathering as one to listen to the Word of God being read aloud. Their attentive ears and open hearts set the stage for a profound encounter with divine wisdom. Just as we need to pay close attention when someone whispers a secret, so too must we carefully listen when the Word of God is spoken. This careful listening is the first step in our response to God’s message, allowing it to penetrate our souls.
- Respond to the Word of God with Reverence
The people in Nehemiah’s time responded to the Word of God with deep reverence. In verse 5, we see them standing in awe of the Scriptures. This reverence acknowledges the divine nature of the Word and reflects our humble recognition of its authority. When we approach the Word with reverence, we acknowledge its power to guide and shape our lives.
- Respond to the Word of God with Understanding
Verse 7 tells us that the Levites helped the people understand the Law. Without understanding, the Word of God remains a mystery. We respond to God’s Word by seeking to comprehend its meaning and its relevance in our lives. Through study and reflection, we gain insight into the depths of divine wisdom.
- Respond to the Word of God with Conviction
As the people listened and understood the Word in Nehemiah’s time, they were moved to tears of conviction. In verse 9, they recognized their shortcomings and the need to turn back to God. Our response to the Word of God often involves a deep sense of conviction, prompting us to examine our lives and seek forgiveness and transformation.
- Respond to the Word of God with Joy
Despite the tears of conviction, Nehemiah 8:10 emphasizes that joy is also a part of our response to God’s Word. The people were encouraged to celebrate because the joy of the Lord is their strength. True joy comes when we realize that God’s Word is a source of hope, comfort, and guidance in our lives. It is the joy of being in a right relationship with God.
The story of Augustine’s conversion is a powerful illustration of the impact of God’s Word. As Augustine struggled with his faith, he heard a voice saying, “tolle lege,” which means “take up and read.” He opened the Bible and read a passage that profoundly impacted his life, leading to his conversion. Augustine’s story serves as a testament to the transformative power of the Word of God, inspiring us to approach it with the same reverence, understanding, conviction, and joy that the people in Nehemiah 8 displayed. Just as Augustine discovered, we, too, can become a people of the book, finding guidance, redemption, and eternal life through our proper response to the Word of God.
Expository Listening: A Practical Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word Paperback – February 23, 2010