We have been talking about revival all fall. In one of the last lessons in the series, we briefly discussed the case of Nehemiah. But there are many more lessons to be learned in the wonderful little book of Nehemiah, and to these we turn in the last sermon of the new year.
Who of us has not been touched by the problems of famine around our world? We have seen the pictures, expressed our concern in donations and prayers, and attempted to help relieve the suffering. We have tried to teach farming and education has provided some relief. All such educational efforts show that the solution is at hand, but unidentified.
Philip Yancey tells of a similar situation in Somalia over a quarter century ago, when many Somalis died within sight of a river teeming with talapia, now available in our stores. But the Somalis had never considered the talapia as edible, and thus 100s starved to death within sight of a river glutted with them.
Amos 8:11 describes 8th c. Israel in a similar way, not a family for bread or thirst for water, but a famine of the word of God. How many are spiritually starving when the spiritual nourishment is at hand in the word of God?
Devoted to reading likely brings Paul's instruction to Timothy to mind. Another great text which speaks of the power of reading the Bible consistently is in the OT. The revival in Nehemiah's time came about precisely because of the hunger for God's word and the effective plan outlined. Notice several principles from Nehemiah 8:1-8:
In an interesting parallel, a book from a few years ago was titled "The Making of a Doctor." Those in medical school study, then they practice while explaining what they are doing, then they do an internship to gain experience.
I want to encourage you to adopt one or more reading plans for Scripture in the coming year.