What an amazing event. The people of God re-gathered to hear the reading of the Law. When I was trying to visualize the scene it made me think: Hey, maybe this is where some of our current ideas about building a sanctuary came from. I can picture the Methodist church from my childhood. The pulpit was on a raised stage a la Ezra. On either side of the pulpit and back were 4 large wooden chairs – two on each side. Those officiating the service sat there – the minister, the choir director or a guest speaker. This same pattern was true in the independent Baptist church I joined when I came to Christ.
While there were no altar calls I remember as a child (not sure the Methodist did that sort of thing), there were several “invitations” to come forward in my time at Immanuel. When this was an expected part of the service, the front rows would be manned by our elders and deacons who would be ready to pray with and counsel any who might come in response to the call.
So, here stands Ezra on a specially built platform surrounded on both sides by the Levites – everyone ready to make sure the people not only heard the Word but understood the meaning.
I have to agree with today’s speaker – there is power in the spoken Word of God. The people’s hearts melted and they wept unashamedly. Those who understood – Nehemiah, Ezra and the Levites comforted the people and encouraged them to see this as day to celebrate God’s faithfulness and their unity as a community.
Personally, I love to read the Scripture out loud. I often read aloud to myself, especially if the passage is difficult to understand. There is something about joining my hearing along with seeing that brings unexpected clarity.
I love it when someone in church reads it well. Case in point was Kevin B. just yesterday. The Words rang T.R.U.T.H!
What’s more I just told Betsy how much I like it when we are asked to stand to hear the benediction. It somehow gives honor and respect to what is being spoken.
The Truth is:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb. 4:12
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Rom. 10:17
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Col. 3:16