Our Prayer of the Day for the Third Sunday after Epiphany includes these words: Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.
“Wow, can we do all of that in one hearing of each Bible reading? Consider this portion of our Sunday reading from Nehemiah, “all the people gathered together . . . they told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the Law of Moses . . . he read it from early morning until midday.” Wow, how could they sit so patiently and listen to the Law of Moses for that long? Did the law actually nourish them, or did it convict them? Reading further we can learn that these people may not have loved what they were hearing, but they so loved God that they allowed their love for God to shape their hearing of God’s law as something they could read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest. Can your love for God change the way you hear scripture?