Key points from the sermon:
The people are weeping because the Law reveals God’s holiness and the people’s sin. The people are seeing rightly; they are appropriately grieved over the chasm between them and God.
However, they are commanded to stop weeping, to stop mourning because “this day is holy.” It’s holy because they’re celebrating the Feast of Trumpets (Numbers 10:9), in which they remember the Lord their God who has claimed them as His people and saved them from their enemies. Nehemiah and Ezra and the other leaders are calling the Israelites from grief over their sins to hope in the Lord!
In verse 10, the people are told to go their way and to celebrate and share! This is why we do life in Missional Community... to go our way and to celebrate and share with those who are not prepared.
Finally, they are told not to grieve because “the joy of the LORD is (their) strength.” The people had been unfaithful. They knew it and God knew it. But God had remained faithful! His promises to intervene never changed. When we see and understand God’s Word, we can go our way and “make great rejoicing” because it is not our faithfulness that saves us, but God’s faithfulness alone that saves us! This is why our mourning and weeping turns to joy and strength - because He has not left us in our sin to fend for ourselves; He came down and rescued us and gave us new life!
Scripture to meditate on this week:
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” -Psalm 30:5
What do you notice in Neh. 8:9-12?
In verse 9, all the people are weeping because the Law has exposed decades of sin. They are seeing the great contrast of God’s holiness and their sin, and they are weeping in response to that revelation. What are some other ways we as a people might respond when confronted with our sin? Which responses are good and right? Which responses are prideful?
Reading on, how long “should” we weep over our sin? Why are these people being commanded to stop grieving and start celebrating?
Looking at your own life, how does celebration play out? What do you celebrate? Is there anything that needs to change regarding how or why you celebrate?
This week remember that MC is designed to be a celebration! Think about why we’re celebrating and why we’re gathering. Do our MCs feel like a celebration, or do they sometimes feel like an obligation, something to mark off the to-do list? Moreover, how are we including those who have “nothing ready”? Pray for your MC leaders this week. Pray that our MCs would bring revival to our city. Pray that each week at the Sunday Gathering, God’s Word would expose our sin and remind us that He didn’t leave us in our sin. We were unfaithful, but He was faithful. May that truth send us out with “great rejoicing” each week, that our city would see our rejoicing and come to know Jesus our Savior!