Ezra “brought the Law” before the assembly to read. What did he read to them? Only the Ten Commandments over and over for half a day? The reference to the book of the Law is to be understood as the five books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy, known as the Hebrew Torah. The term “law”, therefore, covers only a part of what was included in the reading; it would be better to translate it as “instructions”.
They are God’s instructions enabling us to know the path on which we should walk in order not to miss the goal. When Ezra read, the people heard about their history as the people of God, beginning with Creation through the time of Joshua. Through stories, songs, poems, blessings, and laws, they were reminded of their struggles in following God and of God’s faithfulness to them. The Torah includes “law”, but it is more than that; it incorporates the history of the people of God and especially reveals God’s leading. Consequently, it gave the community its roots and identity.
Read Nehemiah 8:3; Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 6:3-4; Joshua 1:9; Psalms 1:2; Proverbs 19:20; Ezekiel 37:4; and Matthew 17:5. What do these verses teach us about how we are to interact with the Word of God?
That the people desired to hear the Word of God most likely was the result of Ezra’s reading and teaching the Word since his arrival in Jerusalem some 13 years before. He was dedicated to God’s work and determined to make a difference. The Word of God became real to the people as they kept hearing it from Ezra. As a result, they made a conscious decision to hear and to listen because they were interested in hearing from God. Thus, on this occasion, they approached the Torah with reverence and a desire to learn.
Saturating ourselves in the Word creates a deeper yearning for God in our lives.
|How do you relate to the Word of God? That is, even though you claim to believe it, how is that claim made manifest in your life, in the sense of how you seek to obey what it teaches? How differently would you live if you didn’t obey the Bible?|