In the book of Ezra, we learned to build God’s Church as they rebuilt the Temple of the LORD. In the book of Nehemiah, we learned how to build our city while they rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Through it all, we learned a principle that has repeated itself many times over throughout Scripture: We should learn to listen to God.
Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet. Then Ezra praised the LORD, the great God, and all the people chanted, "Amen! Amen!" as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. The Levites--Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah--then instructed the people in the Law while everyone remained in their places. They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage. (Nehemiah 8:5-8 NLT)
Listening to God may have been easy and straightforward for Adam and Eve. They walked together with God in the Garden of Eden. They knew when it was God who spoke and when it was not. Now, we find ourselves learning to discern God’s voice by filtering out the many, many voices that vie for our attention. We do this by listening to God’s Word and then taking the time to understand it.
"The purpose of My covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered Me and stood in awe of My name. They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from Me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with Me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin. The words of a priest's lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of the LORD of Heaven's Armies. (Malachi 2:5-7 NLT)
Now, Christians are God’s Church, Christ’s Ambassadors, and a Kingdom. We are messengers of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. We are priests. Our words, like the priests of old, should point people to God’s Words which bring life and peace. Our lives should reflect a reverence and awe of God’s Name. Our instructions should pass on the truth of God to anyone who will listen. Our lives should be good and righteous, turned away from sin, walking together with God.
How about you? Do you listen to God? Do you take the time to understand God’s words? Do you pass along the words of God that bring life and peace?