It is with immense joy and great honor I introduce our newest guest writer. I have known this fella for his entire life. I have also seen him break more bones than there are chapters in Psalms (that’s slightly exaggerated). I’ve had the opportunity of teaching, mentoring and learning with him. I promise you’ll want to look into the mind and heart of Cade.
There’s a difference in attending and being attentive.
I have been in church services for as long as I can remember. So, naturally, I was always attending services. While I can remember some services and sermons, I have likely forgotten more messages than I would believe, but there’s a problem with that.
Let’s look at Nehemiah 8.
And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. 6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. 8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
Nehemiah 8:1a // Attend.
In the first verse, it says that everyone came together to meet and hear the word of God. Much like our modern church gatherings, they met to hear and learn more about God. The most impressive thing, to me, is the faithfulness they had to attend and to stay from early morning to midday. As we see here, the more present you are, the more you will comprehend. Worship is more than a song and can take form in attentiveness to God’s word.
Nehemiah 8:1b-6 // Be Attentive when attending.
You are not guaranteed a life changing revival just by showing up. In order to fully soak in the word of God to apply it, you must prepare your heart physically, mentally and emotionally for whatever truth He might throw your way. God should be your top priority during that preparation, and truly, that time shouldn’t be an actual concern when you are diving into the word.
Nehemiah 8:9-12 // Application
Hearing truth and being attentive to it are only 2 of the 3 steps of spending time with God. When you hear the word of God and what he has for you to learn and what he has for you to do, He expects you to carefully apply it to your life. God’s word will often cause conviction, confession, cleansing, and commitment. We should mourn over our sin against the Lord. Yet, we should rejoice because we are forgiven.
When we are saturated with his hope, we will be moved to celebrate it. The Bible gives us reason to celebrate. We have hope through salvation, and that will bring joy to us in all we say and do. Christians should be throwing the best parties… because we have something worth celebrating. When we attend, are attentive, and apply, we will see the effects moving in our lives and in the lives of people around us.
Subscribe to Matchbox and receive updates on what’s happening! It’s in the sidebar!
Also, we’re on Twitter!
Cover Photo: Curtis