Devotion based on Nehemiah 8:1 – 10:39

Nehemiah taught us valuable lessons how God’s word changes life. 

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. After hearing about the sad condition in Judah, Nehemiah prayed to God for Jerusalem.

Then he requested the king’s permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its gates. The king granted Nehemiah’s request and gave him endorsement letters to ensure security and to obtain timber from the king’s forest for the gates and walls of Jerusalem. Thus the work of repairing and rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and gates was fully completed in just fifty-two days (Nehemiah 6:15).

After the people settled in the rebuilt city, they asked Ezra, the priest, to read the Book of Law of Moses. So Ezra then spent hours reading the Law before the assembly. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. This went on day after day (Nehemiah 8:18).

This reading of the Book of the Law moved the hearts of Israel people. In chapter 9, we find that they fasted and confessed their sins and also the sins of their ancestors.

When we are diligent in reading the bible, our hearts will change for the better. God’s words can open our hearts to things we need to confess and repent.

True repentance leads to radical re-commitment. In chapter 10, we find the people of Israel made a list of actions to follow God’s law. Remember, their ancestors didn’t follow God’s law. As a result, God had sent them into exile. Nehemiah’s generation vowed to not repeat the same mistake. No matter how difficult it was.

True repentance changes our action. It will make us pay more attention whether or not the way we live our lives is in accordance to God’s standard. We will start asking God more for his advice on things. As a result, we will start to become more sensitive to sins.

The well-known apologist Ravi Zacharias is an example of someone whose life has been turned around and flipped upside down by God’s words. Growing up, Ravi had not meet his parents’ expectations. Because of this, his father used to beat him constantly.

So when he was 17 years old, he decided to kill himself by drinking poison. But somehow Ravi managed to survive the suicide attempt. When he was still in the hospital bed, someone read him God’s words. John 14 captured his attention. Specifically verse 19 that says “Because I live, you shall live also”. So Young Ravi committed his life to God from that day forward. Since that day, Ravi has never stopped sharing God’s words all over the world.

God’s words changed Nehemiah’s generation. A couple of generations ago, God’s words changed a suicidal teenager into a bible teacher. And now if you want, you can let God’s words change your life today.