Paul Chamberlin, Elder
Reading this passage from Nehemiah at first gave me questions as to how it could relate to me. After wading through the lists of families and the genealogy, there is the description of the gathering once the wall and the city were secure. The more I read it I realized I needed to place myself there among the residents to experience the events. Once I did this it became so much more meaningful.
First being an engineer I looked at the details. There are nearly 50,000 people gathered to hear God’s words to Moses. They had gathered nearly 800 lbs. of gold, 6,000 lbs. of silver, over 8,000 animals, 600 priests’ garments, and 50 bowls. Wow! What an offering! They stood and listened to Ezra read God’s word. Hearing it brought a response of worship in praise, prayer, and thanksgiving to the Lord. After the years of captivity and rebuilding that preceded this event I am sure there was a flood of emotions.
I have been to some large gatherings but nothing of this scale. I am an emotional person and being among believers hearing the word of God and responding in this way would bring me to tears as it did to them. Tears of sorrow for the times I go my own way and not God’s, and tears of joy to hear that He knows me, loves me and forgives me.
That was 2500 years ago. God has not changed, but today we have even greater joy since we can know him through his son, Jesus. So now we can look forward to a time when all who place their trust in him will gather together by the untold millions to not just hear from him but to commune with him in person. Imagine the joy and worship that will take place on that day!
Experiencing God in this way is a great encouragement for me and I hope for you.
Nehemiah 8:10 – “The joy of the Lord is my strength!”