As the Israelites were rebuilding Jerusalem, they needed a place for the entire congregation to gather to hear the Word of the Lord. Now, unlike Western New York, the climate in Jerusalem did not necessitate an enclosed building for their meeting, but it did require a large space and the building of a platform. Nehemiah 8:4 describes this occasion, “So Ezra, the scribe, stood on a platform of wood, which they made for the purpose . . . and Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people.”
In the Hebrew language there is a play on words regarding the English word that is translated, “purpose.” The purpose or the occasion was for all the people to hear the Word of the Lord. This is clearly seen in the overall context as Ezra’s purpose was to bring the “Book of the Law of Moses” (Nehemiah 8:1). Then Ezra and other men opened the book (8:5), and read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God, and gave the sense (preached). Everything about this occasion centered around the Word of the Lord. The Hebrew word translated, “purpose” is the word, “dabar”, and it can be translated occasion or purpose, but the main way it is translated over 800 times is “word.” The gathering of the congregation in Nehemiah 8 was for the purpose of the congregation hearing and understanding the Word. So, they built a platform for the purpose of the going forth of the Word.
Like those who “made the platform” in Nehemiah 8, many within our congregation, over the last several months, have been working diligently on remodeling the chapel. And the purpose for all the work on the chapel is for God to be glorified, as God’s Word goes forth from that building. On November 1st at 6:00 p.m., we will begin to fulfill that purpose in a very God-honoring way as several believers will be proclaiming the Word. They will be following the Lord in believer’s baptism. In the days to come, the Chapel will serve as a place for our congregation to meet for services, fellowship, special events and other God glorifying purposes. I believe November 1st will be the beginning of many God-glorifying opportunities for the Word to be proclaimed in the chapel. The chapel has been remodeled for this very purpose!