I recently purchased the cutest little doll house that is only 5 inches tall and 4 inches wide. The front opens to view three floors and all the wee contents, and it is lit with tiny lights! I couldn’t resist getting it to put in a bigger doll house.

However, I failed to read the fine print.

When the box arrived, I discovered that it is a KIT and I had to ASSEMBLE all the wee contents! This involves tweezers and taking off my trifocal progressive glasses so I can see the teeny-tiny pieces! I have been diligently working on this random project, and it really will be adorable. I will be thankful when it is finished!

I recently was thinking about the biblical persons Ezra and Nehemiah, who both returned to Jerusalem after the Jewish exile, and carried out God’s vision for restoration and spiritual renewal. They led in reconstructing the temple and the wall around Jerusalem. After those projects were completed, both men, who were deeply concerned about the spiritual heart of the people, led in the religious reform of Judah. In Nehemiah 8, they gathered the returned exiles and Ezra, a priest, read from the Book of the Law of Moses.

“Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, ‘Amen! Amen!’ Then the bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” 8:5-6

I paused on the short sentence, “Ezra opened the book.”

Some of the returned exiles remembered Solomon’s temple (Ezra 3:7-13), but most of them were born in exile and were returning to Jerusalem with the stories, hopes, and dreams of God’s restoration of his kingdom people. Standing before the newly rebuilt temple, within the newly rebuilt walls, and hearing God’s Law read in that place (read the rest of chapter 8 to learn how often Ezra read to the people!) must have surely been exciting. Read again their response; they lifted their hands, shouted, bowed down, and worshiped the Lord.

Ezra opened the Book of the Law and read the fine print. And the people celebrated and obeyed God’s word.

This is my hope and prayer for what happens when we gather around God’s Word on Sunday morning (or anytime). We listen, both to the reading of the Bible, and to the Holy Spirit who is present to help us understand, and who helps us obey and apply it to our lives. Can we be as eager to hear, and excited about obeying, God’s Word?
I pray that it will be so.

Pastor Deb