A couple of weeks ago we saw the people being moved to tears. They were listening to God's word and they knew how far they had fallen short. But it wasn't the time for confession; it was the time for celebration. Time to stop crying.
But the time has now come for the people to have a serious look at themselves. It is time to admit that the bad state of God's people is down to the behaviour of God's people, both now and in the past.
Sometimes churches need to review where they are. Perhaps these chapters can help us to do this well.
1. Start with praise. 'Stand up and praise the Lord, who is from everlasting to everlasting.' Remember God's sheer greatness.
2. Retell the great story of the Bible. God's covenants with Abraham, David and above all Jesus. Remember God's patience with his people and all he has done to sustain the covenant.
3. Recognise the ways that we have failed to live up to the covenant, both in the past and now.
4. Be real about our current position. There is good news (the wall is rebuilt) but things are still not right. The people are still slaves. (I love 9:32, where the people call on God not to let the hardship seem trivial in his eyes. Whatever state we are in God is watching, and our condition can touch his heart.)
5. Make some commitments, preferably as a group. "We will not neglect the house of God."
All this strikes me as a lot of work and perhaps several church meetings. But it could be very worthwhile.