9Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites, who helped the people understand, said to all the people, “Today is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or cry!” because all the people were crying as they heard the words of the Law. 10Nehemiah said to them, “Go, eat rich food and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, because today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
11Then the Levites silenced all the people, saying, “Hush! Today is holy. Do not grieve.”
12All the people went to eat and drink and to send portions to others and to celebrate with great joy, because they understood the words that had been made known to them.
13Now on the second day, the heads of the families of all the people, the priests, and the Levites were gathered around Ezra the scribe to study the words of the Law. 14They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses, that the Israelites should dwell in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month, 15and that they should proclaim this and make this announcement in all their cities and in Jerusalem: “Go out to the mountains and bring branches from olive trees, wild olive trees, myrtle bushes, date palms, and leafy trees to make shelters, as it is written.”
16So the people went out and brought branches and made shelters for themselves. Each man made a shelter on his roof. They also made shelters in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the house of God, in the square by the Water Gate, and in the square by the Ephraim Gate. 17The entire congregation that had returned from the captivity made shelters and stayed in the shelters. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated in this way, because there was very great joy. 18Ezra also read from the Book of the Law of God every day, from the first day to the last day of the festival. They celebrated a festival for seven days, and on the eighth day they held an assembly according to the ordinance.
Advent 3 -- December 16, 2018
Pastor Titus Buelow