Day 11

Ezra Read God’s Law to the People

from the Nehemiah reading plan

Nehemiah 7:73, Nehemiah 8:1-18, Romans 1:16-17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 7:73, Nehemiah 8:1-18, Romans 1:16-17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Do you remember the first time you understood a crucial part of the gospel? The day something just clicked? You knew the words of it one day, but in that one moment you understood the absolute truth of it. For me one of those “Aha!” moments happened when I came to understand the Bible wasn’t primarily a book about me, but rather a book about God.

That may seem silly to some. It may be something every Sunday School kid armed with The Jesus Storybook Bible already knows. But for me, as a 30-year-old woman, it was astounding to realize that my entire life I had read the Bible one way, when it was intended to be read an entirely different way. It changed everything for me. It made the gospel come alive to me. It made Scripture come alive to me. It made Jesus come alive to me.

But it also made my sin more real to me.

I was rejoicing because this book held the words of life, but I was weeping because this book also showed me my sin. It wasn’t just a book about how if I did good things, good things would happen in return for me. It wasn’t just a book of stories about that “nice man” Jesus. It wasn’t a book that held the key to getting an eternity with God. It was a whole book that had to be believed in its entirety—even the really hard bits.

I imagine this is how the Israelites felt when the book of the law was read to them. The weightiness of all the ways they couldn’t measure up were read clearly to them so the people could understand it fully. And as we would expect, they wanted to mourn and weep, because who could keep a law like this one? But look what Nehemiah says to them—and to us, who still sometimes buckle under the weight of a law fulfilled:

“Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

The same strength given to those who did not yet have full understanding of God’s redemptive plan is given to us today when we understand the full weight of Scripture, our sin, and the Savior’s sacrifice. The joy of the Lord is our strength when under the weight of conviction and in the midst of mourning our sin.

The joy of the Lord, the goodness of His sovereign plan and His deep love, His careful attention and His unmerited mercy—these are why we can rejoice in the face of what seems terribly, terribly hard, irrevocably broken, or unattainably high. We can trust in the joy of the Lord.


Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

Post Comments (51)

51 thoughts on "Ezra Read God’s Law to the People"

  1. Amy James says:

    In verse 16 when it talks about “booths” what is that?

    1. Vanessa Pardi says:

      It’s the Feast of Tabernacles that God asked the Israelites to observe in Exodus. They made “tents” with palm leaves and stayed in them for 7 days in remembrance of their time wandering in the desert when God delivered them out of Egypt. There is more symbolism around it but this is what I remember the most.

    2. Emily Gates says:

      I have the She Reads Truth Bible which is the Christian Standard Version that Reads “The people went out, brought back branches, and made shelters for themselves on each of the their rooftops and courtyards, the court of the house of God, the square by the Water gGate, and the square by the Ephraim Gate”. Don’t know if that helps but thought I’d share!

  2. Terrie Fulk says:

    Today, while I was reading this passage, I realized I was understanding the Bible. The more I read the better my understanding of what God wants of me.
    “Praise to God for the understanding of His word and the path He is creating for me. Amen.”

    1. Hannah Shelton says:

      That’s amazing!

  3. Shelby Lynn says:

    About 4 days ago I began a spiritual exercise of praying ‘Lord show me my sin’ (Excerpt from SRT Bible at Psalm 50-51) so I have a vast understanding of the sins I have done or am doing (and am unaware) to understand the vastness of Jesus’ sacrifice. I want a bigger view of my sin for a larger view of the cross.
    The power of God is miraculous and I’m glad to be able to read my bible to see his mercy, blessings, forgiveness despite us hurting him, and unconditional love.

  4. Alicia says:

    Loving this study. All these devos are knocking it out of the park with application and interpretation. And loving loving the conversation threads. Woah. Who knew. Nehemiah. This is awesome!!! Today, the beautiful mix of the people with all different tasks (government, religion, teachers) working together to bring the people of God together, to glorify him in joyful faithful living!

  5. Logan Christine says:

    One of my Bible professors in college always started his classes every semester repeating the very first part of the Bible “In the beginning, God..” and then stop. He would go on to explain that that beginning shows us that the Bible is about God and only about God. We were not there in the beginning, only God was, and until we understood that we would not be able to fully absorb all the Bible had to teach us. So thank you Lore for pointing this out to us today! Let us all remember to place ourselves second to the one who has always been first.

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