"One thing leads to another." so the saying goes. It's called "casue and effect". In the case of the Jews who returned from their 70+ year banishment to their ancestral home, their "cause and effect" came when they made the choice to keep the tradition of their ancestors and the command of the law by observing "Sukkot". Also known as "The Feast of Tabernacles", Sukkot was a time when the people of God would set aside a week for the simple purpose of listening to the reading of God's Word- a kind of "resetting" exercise wherein the community would be once again reminded of their founding principles. We find this particular event in our text for today:
Nehemiah 8:1 When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, 1 all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.
2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
This event (cause) led to a powerful effect among the repratriated Jews. In the very next chapter, we read all about it:
Nehemiah 9:1 On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. 2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. 3 They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.
"Repentance", "revival", "renewal", whatever you choose to call it- it broke out among the people of God! It is a powerful "cause and effect" that takes place everytime God's people allow themselves to be exposed to God's Word. It is the compelling reason why everyday we should personally make the choice to stand before the Lord by reading His Word.
"Sukkot" was (and is) one of the three most important Jewish feasts of the year. It was a time for God's people to return in devotion to Him. For us, "Sukkot" can be everyday if we make the simple choice to read His Word (Reading just three chapters a day will get you through the entire Bible in 1 year!).