The Work of the Word: Israel as Expository Listeners

And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. (Nehemiah 8:1-6 ESV)

“Any study of church history, and particularly any study of the great periods of revival or reawakening, demonstrates above everything else just this one fact: that the Christian Church during all such periods has spoken with authority. The great characteristic of all revivals has been the authority of the preacher. There seemed to be something new, extra, and irresistible in what he declared on behalf of God.” -Lloyd-Jones

“We must feel that woe is unto us if we preach not the gospel; the word of God must be unto us as fire in our bones, otherwise if we undertake the ministry, we shall be unhappy in it, shall be unable to bear the self-denials incident to it, and shall be of little service to those among whom we minister.” C.H. Spurgeon

“The dust of death covers thousands of pulpits across the land. But when the Bible’s authority is recognized and honored, the pulpit stands as a summons to hear and obey the Word of God. True worship takes place when the authority of the Bible is rightly honored and the preaching of the Word is understood to be the event whereby God speaks to His people through His Word by the human instrumentality of his His servants-the preachers.” R. Albert Mohler

True Worship

When  Ezra stood on the pulpit erected for him in Nehemiah 8, the people had asked him to come and bring to Word of God to them. They were eager to hear the Scriptures. They had been in captivity for so long and after they had returned to the land of their God they wanted to return to the God of their land and worship Yahweh through his Word again. They called him to bring the Scriptures and bring them he did. He preached to them from early morning until midday. That is a long time, no matter how you examine those words. He read Scripture to them for several hours and then explained it to them (giving them the sense). How did they respond? Worship. True Worship. “And all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”

How do you come to worship? Do you come expectantly, to hear the Word of the Lord? Do you long to hear the Scriptures taught and explained that you might not hear a man, but God? When the Scriptures are taught how do you respond? Do you respond in true worship or do you dismiss it as something to sit through before lunch? How do you hear God’s Word?

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