STRENGTH FROM THOSE WHO OBEY THE LAW
"The joy of Jehovah is your strength" Neh. 8:10
The material side of Nehemiah's work being completed, the spiritual and moral work of bringing the people back more intelligently under the influence of the Law, went forward. Ezra now appeared upon the scene, and we have the account of a most interesting and remarkable religious Convention. The first day witnessed the assembling of the people. The phrase "gathered as one man" indicates their unity of purpose. They had assembled to hear the reading of the Law. This was not merely the reading aloud of passages from the Law, or even the reading of the Law. It was reading, accompanied by exposition, which was undertaken by men specially appointed. It would seem as though there were, first, a public reading, and then a breaking up into groups under the direction of selected Levites. Their work was that of translation and interpretation. The Law was written in Hebrew, and the people spoke in Aramaic, hence the need for translation. It was a day of conviction, resulting in great sadness, as THE PEOPLE DISCOVERED HOW SERIOUS THEIR FAILURE HAD BEEN, AND HOW SEVERE WERE THE TERMS OF THE LAW OF THEIR GOD. It was to this state of mind that these words were addressed, and they constitute an interpretation of the real nature and value of the Law. The joy of Jehovah is that which gives Him satisfaction, and that was expressed in His Law. Thus the Law was their strength. Only as they OBEYED it could they be STRONG. This surely was the thought of the Psalmist when he sang: "Thy statutes have been my songs" (Psa. 119:54). Because the LAW OF JEHOVAH IS THE METHOD by which He makes known to men THE WAY OF STRENGTH TO THEM, it is the joy of Jehovah. When we discover that, the statutes which fill us with fear, become our delight, our song. They are indeed our strength.