by Linda Veath Cox
All the people assembled with a unified purpose at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had given for Israel to obey. ~ Nehemiah 8:1 NLT
With the help of God, Nehemiah and the Jews who returned to Israel from exile overcame many obstacles and rebuilt the walls surrounding Jerusalem in just 52 days. A major accomplishment, but only the first step.
Something was wrong spiritually. The people were busy rebuilding their city, not rebuilding their hearts. They needed to be restored spiritually, learning that trust in God and obedience to His Word were as essential to a nation as security.
And learning to trust and obey required knowing the Word of God.
The Word of God that is eternal, standing firm in the heavens (Psalm 119:89). The Word of God that reveals Christ and His sacrifice for our sin (Luke 24:27). The Word of God that was, is, and always will be alive, sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
What amazes me in Nehemiah 8:1 is the fact that the people asked Ezra to bring out the Book of the Law. They wanted to know what it said! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that happened today? If people asked for Bibles to be brought out in community meetings, government sessions, school assemblies, even our homes!
We live in a nation where our pledge of allegiance states that we are “one nation under God” and our money has “in God we trust” stamped on it. We are free to own a Bible and read that Bible. But do we?
All of us, even those who say they read very little, take time to read a letter or an email from family and friends. We enjoy reading the morning paper with a cup of coffee. We read magazines, even if just in a doctor’s office or the bathroom. We even read instruction manuals (when desperate).
But how many of us take the time to read the greatest “instruction manual” of all? The Bible contains everything we need for life and godliness through knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 1:3-4). But I can’t help but wonder—are we approaching that time when there is a famine for the Word of God in our country as there was during the days of the prophet Amos (Amos 8:11)?
This year as we celebrate “Independence Day” and our freedom, why don’t we bring out our Bibles and read about the God who gave us that freedom. And may we also find the wisdom and courage to choose leaders who will seek His Word as well!
May God bless America as we abide in His Word.