Nehemiah 8 began “on the first day of the seventh month”. This day is the Jewish New Year and it happens on October 3, 2016.
Nehemiah 9 begins with “on the twenty-fourth day of this month”.
A number of events took place during those twenty-four days. The feast of Trumpets was on the first day of the month. On this day, the shofar was sounded calling people to prepare the Day of Atonement. No work was allowed and people gathered at the tabernacle.
The Day of Atonement was the tenth day of the month. It’s also known as Yom Kippur. The days leading up to the Day of Atonement were set apart so people could search their hearts and examine their lives. The sounding of the shofar was a wake-up call of their brokenness.
The Day of Atonement was the most solemn day of the year. On this day, the High Priest sacrificed sin offerings to atone all the sins of the people and entered the Most Holy Place to offer incense.
Leviticus 16 provides the specific details of The Day of Atonement. It was and continues to be a big deal in the Jewish World.
The Feast of the Tabernacles began on the 15th day of the month and lasted for seven days. This was one of the three Jewish that all adult males were required to attend. This feast was a joyous occasion.
Basically, the Israelites went through twenty-two days of revival prior Nehemiah 9.
Scripture Text: Nehemiah 9:6-19 (ESV)
6 “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. 7 You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.
9 “And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea, 10 and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers. And you made a name for yourself, as it is to this day. 11 And you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and you cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into mighty waters. 12 By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. 13 You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, 14 and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant. 15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.
16 “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. 17 They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. 18 Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, 19 you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness.
You alone are the Lord, because you are supreme over creation. – verse 6
You alone are the Lord, because you are righteous and choose to use faithful humans. – verse 7
You alone are the Lord, because your name endures forever and ever. – Verse 9-10
You alone are the Lord, because you lead the path of your chosen. – verse 12
You alone are the Lord, because you set the standards for living. – verses 13-14
You alone are the Lord, because you provide the needs of your chosen. – verse 15
Verse 16-17 describes how their ancestors paid their gratitude. “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.” – “Even when they made for themselves a golden calf…”
The phrase ‘acted presumptuously’ means to act in total disregard for someone else. It’s the same phrase that describes Pharaoh’s actions in Egypt. They were doing the same thing. I wonder how often we do the very same thing.
You are the Lord alone, because you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. – verse 17
I wonder if you need to experience some of that this morning. I wonder if you’re carrying something that wasn’t meant for you to carry. I wonder if you’re ready to hand that over to God, because he would like to carry it for you.