This summer I'm studying Kelly Minter's Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break. And I didn't know how much my heart needed to be broken. A section of what I studied today really has me thinking.
Nehemiah says that the Lord put it in his heart to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. After the wall is completed, Nehemiah says that again the Lord put something in his heart: bring the Jews home. After years in captivity and then being released but many choosing not to come home, this was no small feat for Governor Nehemiah. In Chapter 8, the people have returned to Jerusalem and have gathered to hear the Word of God read, maybe for the first time in a corporate setting in many, many years. Nehemiah 8:5-6 says:
"...as he opened it all the people stood. 6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground."As he opened it. As he carefully unrolled that scroll to read the Words of the Lord, the people rose to their feet in anticipation. Not after a rousing chorus of "How Great is Our God", not after an awesome sermon, not after a cool drama. As the Word of the Lord was opened to them they couldn't contain their excitement, their eagerness or their praise. They blessed the Lord and worshiped Him before they'd even heard a word off the page. And I walk out of the building complaining about the boring sermon and the songs we sang. Ouch.