Linger in the presence of God

Neh. 9:3 ?The Book of the Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them for about three hours. Then for three more hours they took turns confessing their sins and worshipping the LORD their God.?

When was the last time you were in a six hour church service? For most of us, a service that lasts much more than an hour really makes us antsy and anxious for it to end. How would you like to listen to three hours devoted to the reading of God?s Word? Many of us struggle to even read the Word, let alone spend three hours doing it. What about listening for three hours as the Word is being explained? Most of us like our sermons short and sweet.

I like to read my Bible a lot. I get up early in the morning to spend time with the Lord in the Word, but not three hours worth. We can only imagine what it must have been like for the Israelites on that day. Remember, this was a gathering of people from all over the land. They were not divided into their own little groups. They had gathered as one people to worship the Lord under the direction of Ezra and Nehemiah. They had no personal agenda and they did not have to protect their own little groups.

Notice what happened. After spending concentrated time in the Word, the people confessed their sins and worshipped the Lord for another three hours. Three hours of confession and worship! Three hours of waiting before God for pure hearts and lifting their hearts up in worship. Spending uninterrupted time with the Lord was their agenda. Nothing else mattered. They lingered in the presence of God until their soul?s needs were met.

I wonder what would happen if we today would be more focused on what God has to say, what our needs are as they are exposed by the Word, and worship that is not dictated by the clock. I wonder what would happen if we were to linger in the presence of God until the Lord was done changing our hearts and minds. I wonder what we would have to do differently in order for it to happen. I wonder if any one of us will take this devotional to heart today. I wonder.