Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet. Nehemiah 8:5 NLT)
When the people stood up, it showed respect for what was being read and who was reading it, in that order. Taking the Word of God seriously is the first step towards reformation and transformation.
It is recorded that as Ezra read from the book the people wept (v. 9b) and confessed their sins (Chapter 9:3). The Book of the Law of the Lord was read aloud for three hours, and then they confessed their sins and worshiped for another three hours. They explained the law and tears were turned to joy. There is always great rejoicing when we not only hear God’s Word but understand it. Revelation is a critical component of transformation.
Ezra is the crucial figure in all that is happening among the Israelites. You cannot lead people past the spiritual level to which you have obtained. In Ezra 7:10 it is recorded, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” He studied, practiced, and then he taught. It was not about just intellectually obtaining information, but applying it to his life. It was not only education but transformation. There is an old Puritan saying that goes, “You can never lead anyone heavenward unless you are rising yourself. You don’t need to be high, but you do need to be rising.”
When your Pastor arises to the pulpit to bring you the Word of God, in your heart are you standing at attention or thinking about lunch? The latter will lead to indigestion, the former to transformation.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing