By the time we get to Chapter 8 in Nehemiah, the hard work of building the wall is finished. But building the wall is only half of the story; the restoration of God's people is the rest of the story. Here's what that restoration looks like for the people in Nehemiah's time and for us today.
Start by reading God's word
In Nehemiah 8, the Word of God is read aloud for six hours. Sitting still and paying attention for that long may seem impossible, but how many of us have binge-watched TV shows for as long? The Bible is worthy of our time.
Just hearing the Word isn't enough; we ought to be active listeners of the Word -- listeners who are led to action as a result of that Word.
Worship in response to the word and The Word (Jesus)
When we read the Bible, we encounter God and gain greater understanding of His will and HIs ways, and that should lead us to praise. Weeping and mourning over our sin may happen when we encounter God's Word, but that's not the end goal -- joyful praise is the goal, instead!
Find strength in the joy of the Lord
When we feel weighed down by sin; when we feel like giving up, "the joy of the Lord is our strength." That is -- our joy in God is what will keep us pressing on. The world is filled with bad news, but there's good news too, and the good will triumph over the bad every time.
Finally, respond to God's word with action
Don't just listen to the word -- do what it says! When we do, we see a beautiful picture -- not of law -- but of grace.
Questions to Consider:
Do I make time for God's Word in my life?
Am I paying attention when I hear and read the Bible? Am I actively listening?
Where in my life do I need to find strength by finding my joy in God?
Are there truths from Scripture that I know but am failing to apply in my life?