Ever Learning/Never Learning

"So they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading." (Nehemiah 8:8) Firstly, this is referring to the repopulation of Jerusalem after the rebuilding project overseen by Nehemiah in the fifth century BC. After the walls were rebuilt and the families were allowed to reinhabit the city, Ezra the scribe decided to kick off the block party, so to speak, with a reading of God's word. "Ezra", it says "opened the book in the sight of all the people." (8:5) Notice what it says at the end of the verse at the beginning of this paragraph: "and caused them to understand". I think I know what this means but let's look a little closer at the concept in question.

And that's the whole point. Anytime we think we know what the word of God is saying, yet have no interaction with the one who wrote it (Ezra may have been a scribe, but God's the one who wrote it through him), we definitely will miss out on the finer points of understanding and application—and transformation. It's kind of like this: "Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Timothy 3:7) The lessons in God's word will either go in one ear and out the other or simply over our heads.

"But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you..." (1 John 2:27) How can you have at once, those who read the Bible and find in it the life transforming seam of truth that leads directly back to God, and then have those who read it and see it as nothing more than a work of ancient fiction? The answer lies in the level to which the reader has humbled themselves and sought for God to make Himself known to them through the scriptures. When John says that "ye need not that any man teach you", he's saying that the reader has received the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that He would be our teacher: "He shall teach you all things" (John 14:26).

"What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose." (Psalm 25:10) When we humble ourselves—as it says here to "fear" the Lord—God will open up curriculum that He has for you in His word. What did He bring you out of? How has your unique journey led you from wherever you came to wherever you are now? Open His word and discover the guardrails that He has in place to keep you on the "straight and narrow". Words that God spoke for all to read and have been recorded and faithfully handed down throughout history, but that not everyone will make their own. Nehemiah was reading to the citizens of a newly rebuilt Jerusalem. They had gone through the pain of exile and deportation and numerous other calamitous circumstances. Enemies, foreign and domestic. Yet when it says that the school circle was called "into the street that was before the water gate" (8:1), that "the ears of all the people were attentive unto the law." (8:3) God worked through the prior tragedy and prepared the soil of their hearts to receive the word that Ezra spoke to them. May the same be said for us.

"The sower soweth the word." (Mark 4:14) This is referring to Jesus, who also is the "living word" (John 1:14).

"And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred." (Mark 4:20) Jesus is the one who makes us receptive to His word. He's also the one who causes it to bear fruit in our lives.