Under the leadership of Nehemiah, many of the Israelite exiles returned to Jerusalem from captivity. Nehemiah did an incredible work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem so that the people were safe once again. But that was only the physical dimension of the massive rebuilding effort; the people needed to be spiritually restored, as well. The priest and scribe, Ezra, was at the forefront of a great revival. At the center of the Jewish renewal was the Law of God. The people gathered in order to hear Ezra read God’s Word to them from early morning to midday. While Ezra read the Book of the Law, other priests were among the throng of people and helped them to understand it while they listened. As the ESV puts it, these priests “gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”
The people clearly needed help in making sense of God’s Word. And as they understood the meaning of what was read, they wept and repented and dedicated themselves afresh to faithful living before their God. The need for all of God’s people to make sense of the Bible is no less true today. The path to living intelligent and informed Christian lives will come by having clear insight into God’s Word so that we may walk with clarity and confidence, knowing the will of God in all things.
A craving to know the revealed words of God is at the heart of any church revitalization. An ardent desire to understand the Bible will be at the center of spiritual revival in our own time and place. A longing for knowledge of the Scriptures is imperative to contemporary renewal. Committing ourselves to a daily regimen of Scripture-reading is most necessary to a healthy spiritual life. Teachers who help bring God’s Word to light are a great gift to the Body of Christ.
O God, raise an entire generation of people who seek to know you and your Word. Set apart gifted men and women for your service so that there will be teachers who help others make sense of what you want us to do. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.