June 19 I Wednesday
“They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.” —Nehemiah 8:8
When the Spirit of God comes to live in a person’s heart, He creates an appetite for God Himself, who is mediated to us through the Word of God. The evidence of spiritual life is spiritual appetite. When we have a spiritual appetite, we look for spiritual food.
Just as God had been at work in the city of Jerusalem while Nehemiah was directing the rebuilding of the city’s wall, something had been going on in the people’s hearts. It was the Israelites who asked for the Word of God to be brought and read to them: “They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel” (Nehemiah 8:1). When the Spirit of God comes to live in a person’s heart, the evidence of spiritual life is spiritual appetite, and when we have a spiritual appetite we look for spiritual food.
In our current day, we complain of short attention spans, particularly when it comes to dealing with things of faith. We struggle to find 5-minutes to read our Bibles or to stay awake during a half hour sermon. But we can watch a TV show for an hour, a movie for two hours, a hockey game for about two and a half hours, or even a good concert for three to four hours. Yet, we should not underestimate people’s capacity to hear and retain. We find in Nehemiah that: “[Ezra] read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law” (Nehemiah 8:3). Even though Ezra’s reading of the Word of God from daybreak till noon was about six hours, the people were listening intently––that is power in the Word of God!
The only way for us to satisfy our spiritual appetite is by nourishing our soul with Scripture. Jesus tells us, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We need to feed our mind with God’s Word because every word from the mouth of God will sustain us. But this begins with reading the Word of God and there is no shortcut. We cannot be fed by osmosis, where we put the Bible under our pillow and sleep on it; we need to read it. May God create in us a spiritual appetite that increasingly yearns for the Word of God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, create in me a spiritual appetite that hungers and thirsts after Your Word. Help me to immerse in Your Word daily because it is the truth upon which I could build my life. Thank You, Lord.