2 Historical Background Jews taken captive by BabyloniansJerusalem abandoned for several yearsPersians conquer the BabyloniansJews return to Jerusalem in three stagesUnder Zerubbabel ~536 B.C.Under Ezra the Scribe ~ 457 B.C.Under Nehemiah ~ 445 B.C.Nehemiah’s desire is to rebuild the wall around the city so those who are returning from exile will be safeWall completed by Nehemiah chapter 6The city is organized in Nehemiah chapter 7Chapter 8 – True Revival!Main principle - The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to cleanse and revive the hearts of the people of God
3 Understanding His Word. v1-8 Introduction v1-2God’s Word is not a magic spell book which produces change when recited mindlesslyIt must be understoodSix times in this chapter God uses the word “understanding”Ezra – The ideal leader for this revival (Ezra 7:10)Assembled at the Water GateAn underground stream ran nearby - provided water for the temple.The Water Gate led into the temple area where a ritual bath was taken by the priests to make them clean to do their dutiesA picture of the cleansing by the Word of God (Eph 5:26)Assembled in unity “as one man” (v1)The time was right (Lev 23:23-37)It was the first day of the seventh month. (Neh 7:73)On the first day began the feast of trumpets.On the tenth day was the day of atonement.The fifteenth day was the beginning of the feast of tabernacles.
4 Understanding His Word. v1-8 He brought the Book. (3-4)He had God's written Word.The people needed to hear - many had been raised in Babylon.They had not known God as their forefathers had known Him.He opened the Book. (5-6)Ezra stood on a raised platform before all the people and opened the scroll of the Word of God.The people stood up out of their reverence for the Word of GodThey stood and listened for five or six hours!They worshipped the Lord.He explained the Book. (7-8)The priests and the Levites joined with Ezra and taught the people.They translated and explained the Word of God so these Jews who had been brought up in the captivity and culture of Babylon might understand God's Word.
5 Rejoicing in the Word v9-12 Conviction - The people wept when they understood (v9)For by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20)The Law cannot save, but can point us to the need (Gal 3:24)Ezra and the priests put things in proper perspective (vv10-12)Guilt and remorse are effective and beneficial when they bring people to repentance (2 Cor 7:10)But after revival occurs in the life of a person and genuine repentance has taken place ... It is the time for rejoicing!The basis for Christian joy is to believe what God says in His Word and act upon it.Faith must be based on the Word; Joy must spring forth from true faith;
6 Obeying the Word v13-18 The quest for more understanding It takes time (v13a)The first day had only whetted their appetites for more.Their desire was not for more knowledge, but for wisdom and understanding.They were not satisfied with a one-time experience!It takes the right source (v13b)They went to Ezra (A seasoned mentor) for understandingThe results of the quest (vv14-18)They discovered an observance which God had commanded - the feast of tabernaclesSimilar to our Thanksgiving Day, when the harvest is brought in and the people rejoiced at the goodness of God.The people were required to live in booths (temporary shelters) for 7 daysThis was to remind them of the time they lived in temporary dwellings until they entered into CanaanWhile they wandered in the wilderness God supplied their every need
7 Keys Aspects of Revival UnityReverenceAttentivenessWorshipTeachingConvictionRejoicingDesireFasting/Prayer (Neh 9)Obedience to the WordBeing reminded of God’s goodness“History shows us that one of the great results of this revival was that the Jewish people never again became involved in idolatry, as they had in the past, until the time of Christ ... God's law became a much greater force in the life of the nation. ” - revivals.arkangles.com
8 Further Study and Discussion Read carefully through the prayer in chapter 9. Point out those parts of the prayer where they emphasized that God was right, and where they confessed their sin. Describe their efforts at being humble before God.As a result of this revival, God's law became a much greater force in the life of the nation. Discuss similar changes that are needed in our own societies today.