Before diving into Nehemiah 8 it’s interesting to note that we see Ezra. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther actually have overlapping timelines when they were written. Ezra and Nehemiah are doing ministry together just like we do ministry with each other.
In Nehemiah 8 we go from rubble to revival and it’s God’s Word that brings it about. Nehemiah leaves his job of comfort as the King of Persia’s cup bearer to go and repair the wall around Jerusalem. He wasn’t a priest or prophet. He was Jewish man working in a palace who had a burden for his people. God made a way for Nehemiah to go and rebuild the way and through great trial they did so.
It was Israel’s sin that brought the destruction of their city and led to their captivity. Nehemiah was a product of that captivity–born away from his homeland and serving another king. But it was God’s grace that allows the city walls–it’s source of strength and protection to be rebuilt. When Ezra brings the Word forth and reads it, Nehemiah reminds them in verse ten that “the joy of the Lord in your strength.” It’s not the walls, it’s the Lord. Following the Lord and keeping his commands would be their source of joy and strength.
In our own lives we may find rubble, broken pieces, shattered places, perhaps by our own sin or the effects of someone else’s sin. While these metaphorical walls can be rebuilt, God redeems, restores, and rebuilds, it’s not the walls that are our strength. The joy of the Lord is our strength. We must continually go to the source for this joy and that is the Word of God–the Bible. Like living water, we must drink God’s Word and drink it daily.