Daily Word

Exposition of the Word  |  Nehemiah 8:5-8 (NLT)

5 Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet.

6 Then Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and all the people chanted [answered], “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

7 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah—then instructed the people in the Law while everyone remained in their places. 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.

Nehemiah 8:5-8 (NLT)

Rise out of Reverence

Imagine the scene. All the people (including children who can understand) are sitting in the square just inside the Water Gate, inside the newly re-built walls. Ezra and the others are standing on a podium. It’s maybe 8am, the sun is up. Ezra opens the Word (the Book of Moses) and all rise out of reverence. Ezra praises the Lord and everyone echoes “Amen! Amen!” then join together in worship, bowing before the Lord.

Church format

Do you ever wonder where the format for our church services derives from? It’s morning. Everyone is gathered in a special place. The preacher is on a platform in front of the congregation. Maybe some deacons are beside him. He opens the Word and the people … well, in some churches, the congregation reverently rises to hear the Word. But do we go to the extent of bowing with our face to the ground?* Do we really have this kind of reverence for the Word of God? 

(*Note: It can become a religous action devoid of meaning.)

Exposition of the Word

Then Ezra reads from the Law (which as we noted yesterday was required every seventh year) and these other Levites station themselves among the congregation and explain (exposition) the Word to make sure everyone understands (partly because Hebrew was not their mother tongue at this point). Enduringword.com presents a list of reasons the Scripture needs to be exposited. Two of these include:

  • Special people: “The things of God are spiritually discerned and not intellectually discerned. The Holy Spirit uses gifted teachers to bring spiritual discernment to us, helping us to understand what God’s Word says.”
  • Reveal truth: “Sometimes if we have heard it ten times before, we really don’t understand it … right now. When an art restorer cleans a painting, he reveals things that were always there, but the colors weren’t as bright, and the details weren’t as clear, because they were obscured – then the real impact of the painter’s work can be seen.”

See here for a full list.

Image from Pxfuel.com

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