Today, we read of how the whole nation gathered to respond to the word of God. Israel was in a transition state having just come back from exile. So all the people gathered as one man to listen to the Law of God as read to them by Ezra, the scribe.
Great reverence was giving to the reading of the word, as the people rose, bowed their heads, worshiped and say ‘Amen‘! It was not just about reading, we learn that the the reading was done distinctly, and the Levites caused the people to understand what was being read, giving sense and meaning. How many times do we just go through the motions of the things of God – prayers, worship, reading the bible – do we really seek meaning and understanding??
The people’s response to God was to weep and mourn, for they could see how far they have deviated from God’s law. Nehemiah and Ezra however encouraged them to rejoice for it was a holy day unto God. They people were charged to go their way to eat, drink and share with their neighbours. The people left rejoicing for they have understood the word of God declared unto them.
The feast was kept for seven days, and on the eight day, there was a solemn assembly.