Lessons on Leadership from Nehemiah
“Revival At the Water Gate”Categories: Lessons on Leadership
God wants His people to continually be spiritually refreshed. The wall is built, now the time had come for a revival among the people (Nehemiah 8). The day of revival had an incredible emotional impact on them. They cried out, “Amen, Amen!” They bowed with their faces to the ground and worshipped. They wept and they rejoiced greatly. Their emotional response was genuine and an essential factor in their renewal. But a revival will not be sustained based on emotions. They must be established on the word of God and a willingness to submit to God’s word. That is what happened at the Water Gate.
On the first day of the month the people gathered in front of the Water Gate. For six hours they stood and listened as Ezra read the law. Their hearts were broken as they realized all their sufferings were a direct result of their disobedience to God’s Word. Then, they were sent away to rejoice knowing that God was still their God. Now, we want to ask, “What happened the next day? How did they maintain their spiritual fervor? What do we do when God’s Word has a powerful effect on us?”
Notice, the heads of all the families along with all the priests decided they would come back the next day. They “gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand the words of the Law” (Neh. 8:13). Notice, in verse 12, it says, “the people greatly rejoiced because they understood the words that were declared to them.” They came back the next day to gain a deeper understanding (Neh. 8:13). The NASV uses the word “insight.” On the first day they had absorbed an understanding of the facts of the Law. Their Bible knowledge was enlarged. They had received input, but not “insight.” That’s what they came seeking the second day.
The word translated “understanding” or “insight” is translated from a Hebrew word which means, “the ability to discern inner character or underlying truth. It is the ability to see and clearly understand the true nature of things.” We must seek that kind of insight, that kind of “beneath the surface” understanding. Insight is the ability to be discerning, to see principles and apply them in our daily affairs of life. “Insight” into God’s word is not just to find information, it is to fuel transformation. In other words, God has given us revelation of Himself so that He will make a difference in our lives. Also, that we might gain insight into how we are to live life. God gave us His word to change our lives. A surface knowledge of God’s word will not produce profound change.
What produces insight? Let me show you three things from Nehemiah 8:13.
The first thing it takes is the right amount of time. No one suddenly becomes wise. If the heads of the families of Israel were to gain insight into the words of the Law, they were going to have to invest themselves. In verse 18 it says, “Day after day Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God.” Insight, like anything else worth having, is going to require a commitment.
Next was the right kind of teacher. “They were gathered around Ezra the scribe in order to understand the words of the Law” (8:13). Ezra was a great teacher. He had genuine insight into God’s Words. “Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).
Further, they needed the right type of attitude. Understanding requires effort on the part of the presenter and the listener. Again, in verse 13 we see who came to understand the Word. It was the head of all the families, priests, and the Levites. These men had the proper attitude of humility. We cannot gain understanding from God’s word unless we have a humble spirit. We must approach the word of God daily saying, “What can I learn today? How will this change me?”