Nehemiah 8:1-8 (KJV)

1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.
2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

The principles in Scripture teach us the way to live holy lives.

But in order to receive God’s instructions, we must learn how to hear Him speak through His Word.

In the days of Nehemiah, the Israelites who helped to rebuild Jerusalem were good listeners. After working together to restore the city wall, they asked Ezra the scribe to read to them from the scrolls containing God’s laws.

The reading lasted for hours, during which time the people stood and listened intently as the scribe read.

They were focused on comprehending what had been recorded in the law of Moses.

The scrolls were written in Hebrew. But most of the Israelites standing in the square had spent their lives in Babylonian captivity, and Aramaic was the language they spoke. Yet they had come together, intent on learning about God’s character and determined to follow His plan. For this reason, the Levites translated “to give the sense so that [the people] understood the reading” (v. 8).

As Ezra praised the Lord, the peoples’ hearts were stirred, and they worshipped.

Thanksgiving and humility prepared them to receive from God.

They bowed in gratitude for the privilege of hearing the Scriptures.

We need to understand what pleases the Lord so we can obey His plan.

That means we must be good listeners who develop greater humility, attentiveness, gratitude, and zeal for Him.

As we learn, we should be prepared not only to share the Word with others but also to explain it so they, too, can know God and obey.

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