Conversations with God – Nehemiah 8 – Go Camping and Celebrate


When I feel like God is saying something to me, I like to have it confirmed in scripture. God is not a taskmaster. He is our lover, our father, our friend. And he’s not a father that starts with ‘do your chores’  and ‘work hard.’  Actually what he says about work is, “My yoke is easy and my burden light.”  He’s a father that says, ‘Let’s go camping and have a bash.’

They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage. Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, “Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.” So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them. On October 9 the family leaders of all the people, together with the priests and Levites, met with Ezra the scribe to go over the Law in greater detail. As they studied the Law, they discovered that the Lord had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should live in shelters during the festival to be held that month.  He had said that a proclamation should be made throughout their towns and in Jerusalem, telling the people to go to the hills to get branches from olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees. They were to use these branches to make shelters in which they would live during the festival, as prescribed in the Law. So the people went out and cut branches and used them to build shelters on the roofs of their houses, in their courtyards, in the courtyards of God’s Temple, or in the squares just inside the Water Gate and the Ephraim Gate. So everyone who had returned from captivity lived in these shelters during the festival, and they were all filled with great joy! The Israelites had not celebrated like this since the days of Joshua son of Nun.
Nehemiah 8:8-17 NLT

The Israelites basically found and read the word of God for the first time in ages, searched and studied scripture and found the most important thing to do first was to go camping and celebrate.
God wasn’t first concerned with tilling the soil, caring for the poor, work, even repenting (that came next), first they went outside for a long festival.
Just like Shah wanted me to relax and rejuvenate, God wants and knows what’s good for us. So don’t be surprised if the answer to what should I do today, is something awesome.

About Camila

Based in Atlanta, but from the mountains of North Carolina. New widow of a man from Iran. Mother of one precious girl. Anti-human trafficking expert. Sister to 16 siblings (Yes, some of are adopted). Daughter of God.

1 comment on “Conversations with God – Nehemiah 8 – Go Camping and Celebrate

  1. Debbie Markham

    Reading this I realize that God told the people to go camping.. to live in shelters made from tree branches, to be out in nature and celebrate. Having just returned from a 10 day camping trip this really its home. When camping and close to nature it is so relaxing and rejuvenating and now I’m ready to come home and tackle the work that waits.


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