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Chinese2/24/2006English
經文:尼希米記七至八章
鑰節:「你們不要憂愁,因靠耶和華而得的喜樂,是你們的力量。(8:10下)」
提要

        現在城牆已完工了,許多人希望住到耶路撒冷。雖然城內的人口不多,但尼希米定意讓這城只給猶太後裔居住,也就是說,能提出家譜的才算。他察看系譜,找尋合格的住民;這些人可能就是七章八至廿四節所記的家族(25~38節為其他城市的民),另外還有祭司及利未兩個族系(7:39~45)

        尼希米支持以斯拉,試圖恢復上帝話語的權威。在尼希米未來之先,以斯拉的權力有限;但是自從尼希米這位內政領袖與他同心,許多榮耀上帝的事都可做成。很可能以斯拉在富人壓迫窮人的時期(5章),並不在耶路撒冷,因為他先前曾發起過宗教革新(參拉10:5),但是後來他又出現在尼希米的記載中,被邀請來宣讀寶貴的聖經。

        以斯拉的目標逐漸達成了:他看見上帝的話被尊為大,且廣被理解(參拉7:10)。尼希米和以斯拉,都知道上帝的話語比刀劍更有能力(參來4:12;弗6:17);且他們知道,遵照上帝的話語生活,並專心的敬愛上帝,是帶來復興和建全社會的不二法門。就個人來說,跟隨上帝話語之引領,則會得到喜樂、祝福、神聖引導、鼓勵、靈力、在聖經豐富亮光堛滲u實生命。因此信徒必須研讀主的話、思索它、熟記它,而且最重要的,把它付諸實行,抵擋諸罪。

        與以斯拉一起站在台上的人,可能是他的聖經學生和所有利未人。很有可能,以斯拉曾經與他們一起到某個不受打擾的地方,由以斯拉教導他們讀聖經,並且在這堙A這些學生和文士可以研究和抄寫上帝的話。對他們來說,能有機會打開聖經,在民眾面前公開宣讀,是多麼興奮的事啊!以斯拉對所有百姓讀完之後,群眾可能就分為許多小組。但極其明顯的,聖靈在過程中全然膏抹了他們。因為群眾聞言之後的反應是大大認罪,並為自己的許多可怕過犯以及未能遵守上帝的律法,感到難過。但他們也充滿了很大的喜樂,因為他們知道上帝是慈悲的,願意施行赦免,他們仍有希望(詩130:7~8)。

        尼希米對上帝所賜的喜樂有驚人的見解,他認為那就像是一種武器──內在力量的源頭(8:10,鑰節)。喜樂被列在聖靈的果子之中,並沒有律法禁止(加5:22~23)。對信徒來說,即使是在悲哀和困難的環境之中,仍然有喜樂存在的(8:9~10)。它讓我們的生活,超脫於環境之上。在死亡恐怖中,哈巴谷仍能滿了喜樂(哈3:16~19)。而保羅、西拉與彼得,雖受迫害、毒打、下獄,也依然喜樂(腓4:4;徒5:40~41;16:25;太5:11~12;雅1:2)。

        在第七月的頭一天以斯拉開始宣讀摩西的書。第二天,他們發現住棚節,應該由第七月的十五天開始,一連七天(利23:49~43)。因為上帝話語的權威已經恢復了,他們都受鼓勵要遵守這個節期,立刻便開始準備。這個節期是紀念他們祖先在曠野漂泊時曾經住在帳棚中,而上帝也不間斷的供應他們生活所需。它也表明在上帝面前,選民都是平等的,並密結在一起。另外,生命的要素並不在於你有些什麼,而在於一個人的心靈。

禱告

        哦主,聖經對我們今日,乃是一面借鏡。幫助我們來找著您的道路,並且立刻遵守您的話語。謝謝您,因您的喜樂,乃是我們的力量。奉耶穌基督的名禱告,阿們。

English

Scriptures:Read Nehemiah 8
Key Verse:"Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. "(Nehemiah 8:10b)
Overview

        Now that the walls were completed, many people would want to live in Jerusalem. Nehemiah, however, sought to repopulate the sparcely inhabited city with only those that were pure Jews — those who could prove it. He looked to the genealogical tables for eligible residents who were likely the families listed in 7:8-24 (vv. 25-38 are people of other towns) and the priestly and Levitical families (7: 39-45).

        Nehemiah supported Ezra's attempts to restore the authority of the Word of God. Previous to Nehemiah's coming, Ezra was limited in his power; but since Nehemiah, the civil leader, was like-minded, much could be accomplished for the glory of the Lord. It is possible that Ezra had been away during the time when the rich were oppressing the poor (chapter 5), since previously he had been the one to initiate religious reforms (e.g. Ezra 10:5); but now he suddenly appears in Nehemiah's account of events when he is called upon to read from the precious Holy Scripture.

        Ezra's goal was coming into fulfillment: to see God's Word in a.place of prominence and being understood (cf. Ezra 7:10). Both Nehemiah and Ezra knew that the Word of God had more power than the sharpest sword (cf. Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17), and they understood the importance of living according to the Word of God and loving God in order to bring revival and create a healthy society that witnesses to the reality and power of God. For the individual, following the authority of God's Word will bring joy, blessings, divine guidance, encouragement, spiritual strength, and true life in the fullest sense of the word. A believer must read and study it, meditate upon it, memorize it, and most importantly, put it into practice to keep from sin.

        The men who stood with Ezra were likely his Bible students and all Levites, fulfilling the call of God upon their lives. It is possible that Ezra had gone away with them to a place where he could teach them without interruption, and where these student scribes could study and make copies of the Holy Word. What a thrill it must have been for them to have the opportunity to expose the Scripture reading to the people. Possibly, they broke up into smaller groups after Ezra had read to all the congregation. Surely, the Holy Spirit's anointing was upon them as they preached, for the people's reaction was one of great conviction of their sin and sorrow for the terrible ways they had transgressed and how far short they had fallen in keeping the Law of God; yet because they understood the Word of God, they were also filled with much joy, for they knew there was still hope since God was merciful and was pleased to offer redemption (Psalm 130:7-8).

        Nehemiah had a wonderful insight about the joy of the Lord, which he understood to be like a weapon — a source of inner strength (8:10, key verse). Joy is listed among the fruit of the Spirit, and there can never be a law against it (Galatians 5:22-23). There is a joy for believers that exists even in the midst of grief and hard circumstances (8:9-10). It allows us to live above the circumstances. In the midst of terror, Habakkuk could still rejoice (Habakkuk 3:16-19), as could Paul, Silas, and Peter, even though persecuted, beaten, and imprisoned (Phillipians 4:4; Acts 5:40-41; 16:25; Matthew 5:11-12; James 1:2).

        Ezra began reading the books of Moses on the first day of the seventh month. On the second day, they discovered that the Feast of Tabernacles was to be celebrated for seven days beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:39-43). Since the authority of the Word of God had been restored, they were all encouraged to obey it and keep this holy feast, so they immediately began preparations. This was a remembrance of the time their ancestors had lived in tents (booths) during the wilderness wanderings and of how God provided for them all those years. It illustrates that they all are equal and in a brotherhood under God which binds them together and that the essence of life is not what you possess, but the condition of one's heart and soul.

Prayer

        O Lord, Holy Scripture is a mirror into which we are looking today. Help us to discover Your ways and immediately begin keeping Your Word. Thank You that Your joy is our strength.


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