Repentance of Sin
Two days after the observance of the Feast of Booths, the people “assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dirt upon them.” The people were under deep personal conviction as a result of the days spent in Bible study. Their sorrow over their sins and the sins of their fathers was expressed in the wearing of sackcloth, fasting, and dirt upon their heads. The people continued to listen to daily readings from the law of Moses and participated in periods of worship and confession of sin.
Review of History
Nehemiah 9:5-37 records the longest prayer in the Bible.
It is a penitent prayer of confession that offers a remarkable survey of Old Testament history. As the people confessed their sins they reviewed God’s love and grace toward them from creation and the election of Abraham, through their deliverance from Egypt and rebellion in the wilderness, through their disobedience in the period of the judges and the monarchy, and through the period of the exile to their present state of affairs.
The people acknowledged that the discipline and judgment of God upon them was well deserved. They were however, ready to make things right. They realized that the success of their future was dependent upon their relationship with God. They were ready to get serious about the matter of living their lives in obedience to God’s Word. The “back to the Bible” revival had reached their hearts.
The study of God’s Word is profitable.
As the people listened to the teaching of God’s Word, they were convicted of their sin and shortcomings to the point of tears and repentance. That, in turn, led the people to make some life-changing decisions based upon the teaching of Scripture. II Timothy 3:16 and 17 declare, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching [God’s Word teaches us the path in which to walk.], for reproof [God’s Word tells us when we get off the path.], for correction [God’s Word tells us how to get back on the path.], for training in righteousness [God’s Word teaches us how to stay on the path.]; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
We should be faithful in Bible Study attendance.
Several people asked Ezra to lead them in Bible study “that they might gain insight into the words of the law.” We should earnestly desire to study God’s Word to the end that we might gain insight and understanding into the issues and concerns of life and might become better equipped to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord. (See Psalm 119:97-104.)