All the people gathered together at the square in front of the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses that the Lord had given Israel. On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding. While he was facing the square in front of the Water Gate, he read out of it from daybreak until noon before the men, the women and those who could understand. All the people listened attentively to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform made for this purpose. Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, ad Maaseiah stood beside him on his right; to his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash-baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, “Amen, Amen!” Then they bowed and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, who were Levites, explained the law to the people as they stood in their places. They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read. Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do no mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those that have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.” And the Levites quieted all the people saying, “Be still, since today is holy. Do not grieve.” Then all the people began to eat and drink, send portions, and have a great celebration, because they had understood the words that were explained to them.”
In my Bible study on Nehemiah, it asked the question: “Do you think America is ripe for another ‘great awakening’?” It went on to site those in our past: one in the mid-1700’s, another in the early 1800’s and a third that began just before the Civil War and continued until the end of the 19th century.
I am not a biblical scholar and I’ve only been alive 36 years so I don’t have a lot of context, but I will say that we are a generation (speaking for Christian women whose hearts are devoted to God) that see through the lies. That doesn’t mean we don’t get distracted, have our own worries and cares, but when we see authenticity, not only do we latch on, but we desperately thirst for it our own lives, for our children who need a compass , for family members who are in so deep to any kind of whatever, we know the only thing that can fix it is Jesus. And after we lay all that down at the foot of the cross, we start looking beyond ourselves, our country, our walls and we peer over and we see hurt, suffering, death, persecution, famine. And we crave, again, the words of the God who made all this, the one who conquered death.
I sat among 100ish other ladies gathered around a round tables in a dark auditorium to view our little slice of the web space for the IF:Gathering telecast a few weekends ago. Singing the very first song, the waterworks started. I’m glad the music was loud, because it wasn’t a pretty, God-is-so-beautiful crying it was an ugly, snotty-nose-God-is-in-this-place kind of crying that went on and on. A dam had been released on my face.
Throughout the weekend women of God, women of my generation stood and explained Joshua 1 to us, some started at the very beginning of the story, some in the middle, others looked at what got Joshua to this period of heading in to the Promised Land.
Christine Cainspoke of dismounting dead horses. God is the God of I AM, not was. Move On. God said to Joshua, “Get ready.” We MUST be ready. How do we get ready? Exodus 17: 8-9 Joshua was fighting while his leader was leading.
-She said SERVICEprepares us for the battle. We must be ready to lay down our life. When you are ready, God will find you. Joshua lingered in the tabernacle.
-She said the call of God is inconvenient
-She said, you need God MORE than:
1) your gift
2) your talent
3) your platform
-Only be strong and courageous proactively, being faithful, not necessarily fearless
The key to a believing life is to keep this book of the law always on our lips. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10: 17)
Bianca Olthoff spoke of the 133 promises in the Bible for believers. She said that God wants our faithfulness in everything. Results are God’s responsibility, the response is ours.
Jennie Allen said the Promised Land is the souls of men.
Jen Hatmaker explored reasons why we struggle to believe God.
I came away filled, stunned, challenged, energized. This was about the one life that I have to live for a God that created me and loves me and promises to be with me. This is about reckless abandon for the kingdom of God. Because, if today was my last day on earth, am I now doing the thing that My Master could say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”? God’s been stirring some things up in my heart and it’s just not pretty, because my heart is ugly and selfish and just plain tired sometimes (or maybe that’s my body) but it also sees that God wants our devotion. I will share this one last thing: I wasn’t the only one at my table of 5-6 women (the event was over 2 days, so there was some coming and going) that was moved, there was some serious stirring up. Women were addressing issues that they had held on to for 10-15 years, the Holy Spirit was there, God was speaking and we, just like the Israelites, were hungry for His word.