Nehemiah 8

Nehemiah 8  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The law resumes its authority
By means of Ezra and Nehemiah, the law resumes its authority, and that at the people’s own request, for God had prepared their hearts. Accordingly, God had gathered them together on the first day of the seventh month. It was really the trumpet of God, although the people were unconscious of it, that gathered them to this new moon, which shone again in grace, whatever might be the clouds that veiled its feeble light. The people’s hearts were touched by the testimony of the law, and they wept. But Nehemiah and Ezra bade them rejoice, for the day was holy. Doubtless these men of God were right. Since God was restoring His people, it became them to rejoice and give thanks.
The feast of tabernacles kept with great gladness
The second day, continuing to search into the holy book, they found that Israel ought to keep a feast on the fifteenth day of the same month. On restoration from chastening, when the church finds itself again before God, it often happens that precepts are recollected, which had been long forgotten and lost during the apparently better days of God’s people; and with the precepts, the blessing that attends their fulfillment is recovered also. Since the days of Joshua, the children of Israel had not followed these ordinances of the law. What a lesson! This feast of tabernacles was kept with great gladness,1 a touching expression of the interest with which God marked the return of His people; a partial return, it is true, and soon beclouded (and even the hope to which it gave rise entirely destroyed by the rejection of the Messiah, who should have been its crown), yet of great value, as the firstfruits in grace of that restoration which will accompany Israel’s turning of heart to Christ, as manifested by their saying, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Jehovah!” The gladness was sincere and real; but everything was imperfect. The tenth day had not its antitype. Israel’s humiliation had, as yet, no connection with that death which at once filled up their iniquity, and atoned for it. Their joy was well founded. It was yet but transient.
(1. The feast of tabernacles was the celebration of their rest and possession of the land after passing through the wilderness. The booths marked that they had been under tents as pilgrims.)