1On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered round Ezra the teacher of the Law to give attention to the words of the Law. 14 They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month 15 and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: ‘Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and other leafy trees, to make temporary shelters’– as it is written.16 So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves temporary shelters on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of God and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The whole company that had returned from exile built temporary shelters and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.18 Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.” NIV

The leaders ‘’gathered around Ezra’’ (13) with the intention ‘’to give attention’’ to God’s Word. This then led to proclamation (14, 15): they heard the Word then spread the Word. All of which brings us to the ‘’So’’ in (16). The people responded with obedience; they took action regarding what they heard.

When God shows you something in His Book, be quick to do it. Repentance is more than saying ‘sorry’, or just feeling sorry. It is actually changing; it is taking action; it is turning – even though it may be costly or inconvenient to do so.

(For the background to what Ezra and the people did, have a look at Leviticus 23:33-36; 39-43/Deuteronomy 31:10-13)

Selwyn Hughes told a story about meeting a man at a conference. He was able to spend some time with him and help him with Bible reading. When Selwyn ran across him a little while afterwards he asked him, ‘Have you been reading reading your Bible?’ ‘Oh no sir,’ he replied. ‘I have found it has been reading me!’