In Nehemiah 8 Ezra read the Law of Moses. Verse 1 says that they gathered as one man. He read it from morning to midday. Verse 3 says, “…the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.”
Verse 8 says, “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense and helped them to understand the reading.” In the backdrop of what they heard, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (verse 10).
Verse 12 says, “And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.” Then in chapter nine the people confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
Do you see the connection? It was the reading and understanding of God’s Law that brought conviction. So it is with us. Without the daily reading of God’s word, we will not understand or recognize how our flesh creeps in.
2 Timothy 2:15 is not just for pastors and teachers. It is for everyone. It says “Be diligent to present yourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
As we systematically read our Bible, we are reading in context. Some of it is expressly for Israel, yet we can still make personal applications. Some promises are conditional, so we need to know what God’s conditions are.
I like to visit Isaiah 58 frequently. The chapter is about fasting. Verse 6 says, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen; to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?”
How does that apply to our lives? Let’s read further. Verse 10 in the Amplified says, “And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday.”
Did you catch the condition? Reading God’s word, and spending our quiet time with the Lord in intimate communion fills the condition when He is our sustenance. Our heart’s will be filled with hope and encouragement for others. His word in us will literally be the power behind our conversations with others.
Here is another. Through Psalm 15 the Holy Spirit will bring conviction if we have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart that is open. The question started with verse 1. Who can abide or dwell in God’s presence?
Verses 2-5 are great barometers for us. They are like a template for walking in the Spirit. Here are a few. Are you speaking truth in your heart, or are you dialoguing with lies, or negative thoughts against yourself, others, or your circumstances? (verse 2).
Are you walking in heart integrity? Is your message and messenger the same? Do you say that you have fellowship with the Lord, but there is no fruit in your life to glorify Him? Verse 4 says, “…he who swears to his own hurt and does not change.”
Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” 1 John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”