Nehemiah chapter eight opens on the first day of the seventh month with Ezra the Priest preaching a sermon—and it’s a good one, lasting from early morning to midday. He preaches through the Law of Moses, and the people begin to feel the weight of their sin and mourn. Ezra admonishes them not to grieve, itself a positive response to the reality of sin, but to rejoice “for this day [the Day of Atonement] is holy to the Lord.” The people rejoiced and celebrated, because they understood the words proclaimed to them.
The next day, the leaders of the people came together to study the Law, where they found that they were commanded to celebrate the Feast of Booths, remembering their time as sojourners in the wilderness. And they obeyed, and there was much rejoicing. Ezra read from the Book of the Law in the presence of the people each day of the celebration, which lasted seven days.
Here’s the big idea that we learn from this passage of Scripture: A passion for Jesus and Scripture is created and fueled by the right preaching of the Bible. If the Bible is not preached in our churches, people will not be brought to repentance.