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Rejoice in the Word!

John Collins03/24/2012As the temple and the walls around Jerusalem were being rebuilt, Nehemiah declared a day of celebration -- which was upsetting to some of the elders of the church.

When Jeshua and his family started rebuilding the temple, some of the priests, very old men who had seen the first house of the Lord tried to overpower the rejoicing of the people with their weeping.  According to Ezra 3, David had instructed them to celebrate with music and praise unto the Lord, but the elders did not like it and tried to drown it out.

Nehemiah 8 describes how the people were gathered together, packed tightly into the square before the Water Gate to listen to Ezra talk about the Book of the Law.

Ezra stood before the people on a wooden platform and read from the Book of the Law.  He blessed the Lord, and all the people agreed with him, bowing their heads to the ground and worshipping the Lord.  Others joined in and helped the people to understand the Law, and read from the Book of Law until the people understood.

Afterwards, Nehemiah joined with Ezra and declared the day holy before the Lord, and commanded them not to mourn or weep.  All the people were weeping as they heard the words of the Law.

Nehemiah commanded them to eat the fat and drink sweet wine.  He told them to send portions of the meals and wine to those who did not have meals or wine prepared.  Most of all, he told them not to be grieved, for the joy of the Lord was their strength.  

Finally, the Levites calmed the people, saying telling them to stop their mourning.  The day was holy, and they should not be grieved.  All the people went their way to eat and drink, and to send portions to others so there would be great rejoicing throughout the land.  They were rejoicing because they had understood the words that were spoken to them.

They built their houses as Moses had commanded them, and there was great rejoicing.  Day by day, he read from the Book of the Law of God, and continued feasting until the eighth day when they joined together in the assembly.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Do our elders get upset in our music and celebration?  Do they read from the Word of God, or from the words of some other man?  Do their words make us sad?  Do they condemn us for drinking wine and celebrating?  Does the Word of God make us sad, or does it make us rejoice?  Do we read the Word day by day?  Do we rejoice in the Word?