“For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Law” Nehemiah 8:9
Weeping – It was a day of the tears. After years and years in captivity in Babylon, the people of Israel stand on their own soil once again. They remember the trials and the suffering. They feel the sense of freedom as real as the dirt under their feet. Then the priest begins to read the Law of God from the Torah. How sweet it is now. How comforting to hear those incredible instructions about living in ways that honor God. They just can’t hold back their tears. The truth that they are home bursts upon them as they hear the public reading of the Law. They weep.
They weep for those decades of disobedience that led them into captivity. They weep for the years of slavery as God’s punishment worked out His purposes. They weep for their disobedience, not only individually but also as His people. And then the priest says, “Weep no more. This is a day of rejoicing. You have come home.”
Have you wept hearing the Law of God? I am sure that one day in your life, the impossible hideousness of your sins brought you to tears. That Jesus must die for me is more than I can bear and there are moments when his sacrifice overwhelms me, when his love brings a flood of remorse for my part in his death. But weeping over the Law? That is yet another level of awareness. Bakah, the word for “weep”, shows me that my history of rebellion and disobedience was completely unnecessary. I hear God’s Law, the simple truth of Who He is in action, and I feel the waste of my life without Him. The years of struggle. The times of despair. The false security. My tears won’t stop when I confront how wrong I was, how foolish, how hopeless.
I hear the words of the Law, “You shall have no other God’s before me”. Yes, the amazing truth of His claim on me. Yes, Father, You are the only One. And the tears I shed now are tears of joy that He would still reclaim me, after all that I did to push Him away. Weeping the tears of heaven.
The Law stands before me, not only as a reminder of where I have been but also as a guide to where I am going. Into a fellowship of righteousness. Weep, children, weep. The past is carried away by the mighty arm of God. Today He has reclaimed me. I am His. It is a day of rejoicing – and of tears.