Prayer Focus: Pakistan

Bible Reading: Nehemiah 8-10


1 all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.  2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand.  3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.


7 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there.  8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it cleart and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.  9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.  (Nehemiah 8:1-3,7-9)


After years of rebellion and then exile, the people gathered once again within the walls of a newly built Jerusalem.  Ezra read the book of the law in front of them for all to hear.  Then they explained what they read to the people so that all could understand.  The Bible says that they listened attentively to the book of the law.


Upon hearing it, they wept.


I’m sure there are as many reasons for the tears as there were people.  I can speculate on some of the things that moved them.  This was the end of a seventy-year exile.  The return to their homeland reunited some families with the very few who stayed behind as the remnant.  Families would now have land to work, an income and an inheritance to leave behind for their own children.  All of these things are powerful motivations to weep.


However, I would also think that hearing the law read to them awakened something in their spirits: conviction. I think they realized how far astray they’d gone for hundreds of years, and desired to be in a right relationship with their creator. This was more than a dry list of rules.  Crouched in the instructions for worship and daily living, the personality of God, showed through.  His word, kindled them.



I take courage from this story.  It doesn’t matter how far I think I’ve gone from God, he always provides a way for me to come back to Him.  His word convicts us.  Not convict as in pronouncement of judgment.  But rather, as an internal understanding of right and wrong, because his word is living in us, convincing us.


Father I pray that you convict me of sin, and give me the courage to deal with the consequences of it.  Help me become wise through your word and place in me a longing to understand you.