I encourage you to read these tremendous verses (Neh. 8:13-18) first, and then read this. It is a story of thanksgiving and praise.
Godly people taking time to thank God in a feast did not originate with the Colonists and Indians in America.
God’s people have been thanking God with food since Noah first stepped of the Ark and offered a burnt sacrifice to God, thanking Him for saving them. This scene has repeated itself often throughout the history of God’s people, and we are basically doing the same thing here.
But I want to draw special attention to this thanksgiving feast we have just read.
It is always a fascinating and truly thrilling thing indeed to read of instances where God so mightily moved in the hearts of His people that there is no room to suggest it was anything else but Him.
Here we read the rejoicing and obedience to the Lord and the thanksgiving on the lips of His people was so great there was never a time like it in the past 1,000 years of Jewish history.
Only those godly men of Joshua’s day celebrated in praise to the Lord and thanked God with equal strength as what is recorded in this passage.
Why did Joshua and his people celebrate so fervently?
The Lord had just single handedly opened up the Promised Land and delivered it to the children of Israel so miraculously that His people worshipped Him like never before.
This reminds me much of the early years of salvation and surrender when the Lord was new and afresh and His word was warm and inviting.
Our praise and worship was always on our lips, and we fed daily of the Word from Heaven. We knew God had singlehandedly saved us, and we rejoiced, knowing we were His children. But, alas, how that newness wears off! The joy of the Lord begins to fade, and we slip into the groves of comfort and complacency.
The salvation is there, but the surrender and service is not what it once was. We go through the routines and motions. We continue on in the same way, and our advancement with the Lord is hardly noticeable. Without being fully aware, we become like the children of Israel in our routine sacrifice and worship, and for 1,000 figurative years we sit idly by.
Oh, how we need that vital relationship with our Saviour! What a blessing, then, to read that after 1,000 years God’s people once again worshipped Him with the same vigor and solemnity of the days of Joshua. They went back to their roots and saw God afresh and anew as their forefathers had. Oh, may we return to the Lord and be strengthened by Him after a long and dry drought of worship.
True revival is a complete act of God.
For those 1,000 years, had not God’s men attempted to guide His people back to Him? And while glimpses of revival and hints and sparks of true worship appeared throughout their history, none were like this instance when God’s people whole-heartedly turned with such zeal to the Lord of Hosts.
Perhaps this is why God caused captivity and struggle and destruction to occur – so that the Children of Israel might be revived. They whole-heartedly turned to the Lord because of all of these events more than they ever did because of any prophet or priest directing them.
We should note that the long captivity of the Jews and the afflictions which attended it did more towards effecting their reformation than all which their Prophets and priests could do for a long series of years.
When God is truly exalted with His word, the results are drastically different.
May we go back to where we began and serve the Lord with gladness.
May we view these trying times and difficult days in the light of God still ruling and reigning and His ultimate goal is to be glorified and lifted up! May we seek the Lords revival in a dry and thirsty land.