They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
~ Nehemiah 8:8 ESV
We who are in ministry have a weighty responsibility. As the Lord put it so well to the prophet Ezekiel: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me” (Ezekiel 3:17 ESV). How are we to act on this role? We are to share God’s Word. When the Jews returned from Babylon and rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem, they paused to gather together and listen to Ezra reading the Law. And then the remaining Levites and priests went out among the people to read from the Law clearly and, most importantly, to give the sense of what God had said. The people felt so convicted by what they heard that they wept!
We are watchmen and watchwomen, a royal priesthood, standing on the wall between life and death, and we are to warn those still living that the Lord has good news for them if they repent and believe. But in order to give the sense of God’s Word, we ourselves must understand the sense. That means we must spend time in reading the Word ourselves, studying it, discussing it, and most importantly, LIVING it. If we do not embody the gospel, how will others see the sense of what we tell them? Let our lives be worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:7-8), and let us then give the sense of that gospel to all the world.