March 28
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!’ Philippians 4:4
Bible reading: Nehemiah 8:5-12 (Go to the Bible passage)
It was a wonderful event when Ezra opened the book to read from the law to all who had come together. But before he started reading, Ezra began to praise the Lord and all the people joined in this praise.
How absentmindedly do we often open the Bible without first praising God wholeheartedly. Therefore the Bible is to many often an interesting book, but still a letter that kills (2 Corinthians 3:6). But if we worship God before we start reading, He will speak with great authority in the word that we read.
So it was with Ezra. After worshiping, the law was not only read aloud, but it was also clarified so that the people - who were listening - understood what was read to them. The impact was great. For anyone, who hears and understands the word of God, is deeply impressed by Him and feels how far he has strayed from Him.
But whoever reads a passage carelessly - as a habit, to put it aside without further thought - will harden his heart more and more. And that explains so many hard Christian hearts.
When Israel heard and understood the law after praise and worship, all the people wept. When - by reading the word of God with a prayer in our heart - we realize how far we have strayed from God and we are grieved by our sins, God meets us as the ‘God of all comfort’ (2 Corinthians 1:3). He comforts us with divine consolation and joy. ‘Do not grieve!’ for this day - that you understand the word of God - is holy and to be celebrated. Be joyful, celebrate with festivity together, and make other people share in it!

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