By Kelly Carr
This week marks Memorial Day—when our nation stops to remember those who gave their lives in military service to our country.
Stopping to remember is not a new concept. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is in Nehemiah. After Nehemiah and his team worked for many weeks, simultaneously fighting off opposition, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and then after months of resettling the Israelites back into their towns, they held a giant assembly.
“Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon . . . in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. . . . Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. . . . Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them” (Nehemiah 8:2, 3, 9, 12).
I love visualizing this group of people, standing for hours in rapt attention, devouring the Word of God. They wept and then celebrated because they could understand it. Next they realized there was a feast the Law said to commemorate, so they started following those instructions right away (vv. 14-18).
Nehemiah and Ezra helped the people remember God’s Word and apply it immediately to their lives. As our country stops to remember on Memorial Day, may we also stop this week and remember the Bible and be sure we are applying it to our lives.
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