Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.
The people of God must maintain a deep respect for and a very high view of God’s Scripture. Throughout time, Father God has always provided the Written Word to His people. He commissioned Moses, Joshua and the leaders who followed them to write down what He had done and the laws He commanded for the blessing and protection of His people. In Ezra’s day, God’s people knew this and showed their respect by standing, listening and repenting when they heard it. When Ezra simply opened the book the people rose to their feet without being prompted. They knew that to hear Scripture read was to hear God speak. This principle still applies for the people of God.
In our day, we denigrate this Written Word by explaining it away as the work of men. Our own scholars discredit the revelation and convince others to lower their view of the Bible. Not surprisingly, the Scriptures fail to move us in the church anymore and even the power of God within this Word seems to be throttled or missing. The Spirit is quenched. The danger in lowering our view of God’s written revelation is that it naturally leads us to lower our view of the Author Himself.
Jesus held God’s Holy Scripture in high regard. He referred to it as the spoken Word of God. He came not to destroy any of what God had said but to fulfill all of it instead. The Israelites knew the power of this Written Word and it cut their hearts deeply when they heard it. “For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law.” This is the power of the Holy Scripture as brought to life by the Holy Spirit. It truly has the power to take us apart at our very core so that we might be recreated by the power of God for His eternal glory.
Thanks be to God for His Holy Scripture. May His people once again hold it in high regard, repent of their sins, walk in holiness and reap the benefits of its inherent power.
They remained standing in place for three hours while the Book of the Law of the LORD their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the LORD their God. The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani—stood on the stairway of the Levites and cried out to the LORD their God with loud voices.