The Reaction to Understandable Words

            In Nehemiah chapter 8 (NKJ) during the time when the destroyed walls of the city were being rebuilt, “the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commandedIsrael” (verse 1) was discovered and brought out before the whole assembly. Then Ezra the priest “read from it in the open square… from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law” (verse 3). Other teachers and Levites then “read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them [the people] to understand the reading” (verses 7-8).

           When the people heard God’s word, they responded with three reactions. First, “all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground” (verse 6). Second, “All the people wept when they heard the words of the Law” (verse 9). Third, after being told not to be sorrowful because the day was holy to their Lord, “all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them” (verse 12).

           God intends for us to understand His word. When we do, any of the above three reactions to it is appropriate. Sometimes, the word of God causes us to worship Him, either with shouts of “Amen,” or with bowed heads and faces to the ground. At other times, our comprehension of what God has said will make us weep. And still there are other times when the word of God elicits great celebration.

           In the midst of the telling of this story in Nehemiah lays a popular verse of Scripture. It’s in verse 10 that we read, “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” The context of these words connects our strength to the joy of the Lord by one strong tie: the understanding of the word of God. In other words, understanding the word of God produces joy in our lives because we know that that Word makes us strong enough to face whatever life may throw our way. 

          So the next time you’re feeling weak in faith, pick up God’s word. Use a modern translation if necessary—like the New Living Translation (NLT), the New International Version (NIV), or the New American Standard Bible (NASB)—because God intends for us to comprehend what He has written. You’ll find that the understandable words from His heart to yours will produce such strength that your joy will be full.


©2011 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at Also, periodically check in at to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, and from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website.


~ by sanewriter on August 28, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: