Nehemiah is an amazing account of one of the great revivals in human history. The Jews had rebelled against God and been overcome by the Babylonians and been in captivity for many, many years.
True to form, God still had His hand on His people, and miraculously moved Cyrus, the king, to return the people to their land, and also had allowed (later) Nehemiah to return and rebuild the walls, which was done in 52 days.
Now the people come to the city to meet together as a nation. What do they do? They made a small, wooden platform and called the godliest leader they knew, Ezra, along with other priests, to simply read the word of God and translate it to "give the sense so that they understood the reading" (Nehemiah 8:8). This is called PREACHING. What were the results of the Spirit-led preaching of God’s Word to His people?
As the people realized how far short they were falling, they began to weep and mourn "For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law" (8:9). They did this "because they understood the words which had been made known to them" (8:12).
The people had not done what God desired. They immediately began to correct this, preparing to celebrate the Feast of Booths. This was a feast they had been commanded to observe annually to remind them of what God had done for them in the exodus from Egypt to the Promised land.
For the next seven days, as prescribed by God in the Word they had heard, they "stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God" (9:2-3). This was called a solemn assembly. And the results of this practice were nation-changing.
God revived, i.e., brought to life again, His people. Then, they wrote a fresh covenant to be faithful before God. The leaders signed it first, then all the people. It was a full, nationwide revival. (Can you imagine such a moment in our nation?)
Where did this all begin? There were many factors, but one of the indispensable elements was the God-initiated, timely preaching of the Word of God.
Never forget that God's Word is "like a hammer that shatters the rock." It is one of God's primary means of grace to advance His kingdom and accomplish His purposes.
We must not neglect nor minimize preaching. And we should consistently put ourselves under the sound of true, Biblical preaching and bring others we love to do the same. It might mean the salvation of a nation.