The principles in Scripture teach us the way to live holy lives. But in order to receive God’s instructions, we must learn how to hear Him speak through His Word.
In the days of Nehemiah, the Israelites who helped to rebuild Jerusalem were good listeners. After working together to restore the city wall, they asked Ezra the scribe to read to them from the scrolls containing God’s laws.
The reading lasted for hours, during which time the people stood and listened intently as the scribe read. They were focused on comprehending what had been recorded in the law of Moses.
The scrolls were written in Hebrew. But most of the Israelites standing in the square had spent their lives in Babylonian captivity, and Aramaic was the language they spoke. Yet they had come together, intent on learning about God’s character and determined to follow His plan. For this reason, the Levites translated “to give the sense so that [the people] understood the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8).
As Ezra praised the Lord, the peoples’ hearts were stirred, and they worshipped. Thanksgiving and humility prepared them to receive from God. They bowed in gratitude for the privilege of hearing the Scriptures.
We need to understand what pleases the Lord so we can obey His plan. That means we must be good listeners who develop greater humility, attentiveness, gratitude, and zeal for Him. As we learn, we should be prepared not only to share the Word with others but also to explain it so they, too, can know God and obey.
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