In our last lesson, we saw that the people of Israel had a hunger for the Word of God. We have the Bible so easily accessible to us today in many regions of the world. As a result of the accessibility of the Word, we often take it for granted. How big is your Bible? If you removed the sections that you do not read, how big would your Bible be? We should strive to read the Bible through each year, digesting the principles and practices made available to us.
2. A Hearing of the Word (vv. 2-3)
The hearing of the Word incorporated an appraisal of the people. In verse 2, Ezra brought the law before those who could understand it. The minister must carefully evaluate his audience. He must relate his message according to their maturity. If there is going to be an appreciation for Bible preaching, then it must be adapted to the listeners and applied to their lives.
The hearing of the Word involved an attentiveness to the preacher. Verse 3 states that Ezra read the scriptures for hours, and the people listened carefully to each word. When the Word of God is being proclaimed, do we think about what is being said, or, do we take for granted that the preacher has done his homework and his message is biblically sound? Backslidden Christians do not want to hear the Word because it often bores them. It is sad that Bible preaching is merely endured in many churches, when the music, entertainment, and special presentations are in demand. If Water Gate revival is going to happen in the church, there must be a hunger for the Word, a hearing of the Word, and:
3. An Honoring of the Word (vv. 5-6)
When Ezra opened the book in the sight of all people, they stood up (v. 5). There was a genuine reverence for the Word of God. The Holy Word became an honored Word. The center of attention was not the speaker, but the Scripture. The Christian needs to remember that without the Word of God he would have no hope of heaven, no joy in Jesus, no grace from God, no salvation from the Savior, and no strength from the Spirit. He would be an outcast forever, wandering in a world filled with chaos, trying to satisfy his inner cravings to know God. When a spiritual Water Gate occurs in a church, there will be Bibles everywhere. An excitement about preaching and teaching, with a reverence for the Word, will be evident as the Word is honored.
Also, there was a godly response to the Word of God (v. 6). They shouted “Amen, Amen,” and “bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” Israel got excited when the Word was preached. Their excitement was not based upon a preacher’s personality or charisma, but upon hearing the Word! Pure Bible preaching takes the attention off the minister and places it on the Lord. Israel worshipped the Lord, not the priest Ezra. When the Word is preached, there ought to be a vocal was well as a physical response.
Regardless of their age, people must be challenged to respond to what they have heard. The true Water Gate alter service brings the congregation into a fresh dimension of humble worship before God. When Water Gate revival occurs, there will be a hunger for the Word, a hearing of the Word, and an honoring of the Word. Blessings.
Until The Last Person Has Heard,