"And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading." - Nehemiah 8:1, 5, 8
As the story unfolds, on the second day of this Bible Conference, “They found it written in the Law that the Lord had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month” (verse 14).
The people read how they were supposed to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, camping out in temporary shelters during those very days. This was not a part of Jewish tradition. It had never been done since the days of Joshua, during the original conquest of the Holy Land. After that they had completely forgotten about it.
But instead of saying, “We ain’t never done it thataway before!” (the seven last words of a dying church), they immediately went out to cut leafy tree branches and made themselves shady booths to camp in. It was what the Bible said, so they did it; that was all they needed to hear.
Sometimes we read things in the Bible that don’t make much sense to us. Usually the problem is that what God says just isn’t a part of the pagan culture in which we live, so we think His commands are unreasonable.
Why would we as Christians ever think that the World that surrounds us knows better than God? The World is not our friend; it’s one of the three enemies that constantly try to keep us from God’s will - the world, the flesh and the devil. The World hates us. God loves us. Why would we do things the World’s way instead of God’s way? Lord, You have given me good commands and gracious promises. You have forgiven my sins and borne with me in all my foolish disobedience. Forgive me this confusion as well. Give me the strength of character to trust Your Word and live Your way, today, in Jesus’ name. Amen. Pastor Dan Giles