Immersed in the Word (Nehemiah 9:3) - Radical

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Immersed in the Word (Nehemiah 9:3)

And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day. For another quarter of it, they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God.
– Nehemiah 9:3

Did you hear that? For a quarter of the day, God’s people read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God.

Nehemiah 9:3 encourages us to set apart time to study Scripture

We don’t know exactly precisely how many hours that was. Was it six hours, a full quarter of the day? Or was it a quarter of the day when they would be awake? We don’t know for sure, but it was hours. It was a long time. It was a significant chunk of their day that they’re just listening to God’s Word being read. And then for another quarter of the day, again, we don’t know the precise length, but for hours, for a significant portion of their day, they made confession and worshiped in response to God’s Word.

You put it together, it was half of their day just reading, hearing the Word of God and confessing sin and worshiping. When was the last time you spent half a day doing this? When was the last time, whether alone or with God’s people, and that’s what’s happening here, this is a gathering of God’s people that they’re doing to gather, that we read and listened to the Word of God for hours and then made confession and worshiped for hours.

Nehemiah 9:3 reminds us of our need to engage with Scripture.

If this is what God’s people were doing in Nehemiah as God was rebuilding his people then, how much more do we need to do this today? Does there need to be sometimes some point in our lives, whether individually or together or both, where we spend a half day just listening to and responding to God’s Word and confession and worship? I don’t know how this needs to play out in each one of our lives, but I want to encourage each of us to consider seriously how we can put this picture into practice in our day.

God, we need your Word just as much as they needed your Word then. We need to spend time in confession and worship just as much, if not more so than your people then. So God, help us to do this. Help us to set aside hours for your Word and confession and worship in our lives and in our churches as your people.

Prayer for the Lashari Baloch People

God, we pray for a return to your Word and confession and worship like this in our day for revival, for spiritual awakening in our day that leads to this kind of picture. Lord, please bring it about in the church that I’m a part of, in my life, in the churches that we are a part of and in our lives, we pray for this kind of a spirit of confession and worship and receptivity to your Word and hunger for your Word and longing for your Word and devotion to your Word.

God, we pray, bring this about among us in our day. And as we revere your Word, help us to give our lives proclaiming it among the peoples of the world, among the Lashari Baloch, God cause your Word to spread among the Lashari Baloch people of Pakistan through your people who love your Word more than we love our own lives. God, we pray for all of this according to your Word in Nehemiah 9:3. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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