Festivals matter. Every day is a good day to praise the Lord, but sometimes we need an all-out celebration.
In Nehemiah 8 the people hear God's word and it reduces them to tears. They realise how far they have fallen short. But the preacher is far from happy with this. This is a holy day. It's a day to rejoice in the things God has done, not a day to be sad. So the priests move among the people and get them to calm down. Then the celebration begins.
I've heard people say they weren't good enough for church. Or that God could not forgive them their sins. Nonsense. Our faith doesn't start with what we've done; it starts with the things God has done. Sure we need to confess our sins, but first we need to celebrate the amazing story that the Bible tells and claim our place within it
That's why the celebration had so much Bible reading. The Bible reading wasn't the boring bit before the celebration; it was a central part of the celebration, making clear what the people were celebrating.
More on Sunday …..