These past couple weeks I have been going through the book of Nehemiah. The Lord has been teaching me a lot through this... Today though I was going through chapters 7-9.... 9 wrecked me. (Wrecked: a christian term for when someone gets "WRECKED", or becomes broken.) He revealed to me how gracious, forgiving, and loving he truly is. He lays it out plainly for us to see just in this chapter alone. from vs. 5B and on it is a prayer about the forefathers of the Israelites.
Its too long to copy and paste, so if you do want to open it in another window and read it, its Here.
In the beginning of Chapter 9 what is described is almost like a revival. The Israelites came together and fasted and prayed. For HALF of the day they read the book of the Law, Confessed their sins and worshipped their God. To me thats at least 6 hrs of the day. When do we ever do that?? (just saying, this is for me.) Someone stood up in the middle of this worship session, and began to pray this prayer- and to start of it he commanded "Stand up and praise your God, who is everlasting to everlasting!" .. and on a "side note" I just love that our God IS the ONE & ONLY everlasting God =) This prayer goes on to explain how God was so faithful to the Israelites, and how they were not. This prayer is of humility and TRUE Repentance (thats what its all about!) for their forefathers. They looked back at the story and saw how blind they were to what the Lord was doing. When God was blessing them with new land and plentiful food, they don't even acknowledge that he exists. These people were described as, arrogant, stubborn, stiff-necked, disobedient (vs29), rebellious (vs26), evil-doers (vs.28), wrong (vs.33), and closed-eared (vs.17). And we can look at all of that and say wow they were blind, and crazy not to see God working in them, and providing for them- but really... when we reflect on that, Isn't that how we are? (and maybe how America is becoming? if I can say that..) This story shows so many truths about our God, that he is forgiving, faithful, loving, just, gracious, glorious, patient, merciful, jealous and kind. After reading this prayer HOW can we doubt that the Lord LOVES us!? We turn our back on him and yet he still wants us back "Time after Time"! (vs.28) He is always providing a way out (vs.30 "For many years you were patient with them, by your spirit admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention..) and we may choose not to see it, but we have to seek his face in time of disobedience instead of running from him, like we tend to do (I think out of out guilt.) This is proof that the Lord is constantly calling us back to him. Guilt is NOT of God, only conviction by his Spirit. Give that to God and do something with that conviction. vs 17 says he is forgiving and gracious, he is "slow to anger and abounding in love." .. and man that's the truth. I pray that if their is any guilt in us that we would ask for God's forgiveness and RUN to him. If their is any conviction from his Spirit, that we would lay whatever that is at his feet and have the courage to change. That we wouldn't take his forgiveness and compassion for granted but be repentant and strive be like him because of it. That we would see God has a plan for us, and that we would strive to see what that is instead of growing weary, or stubborn in our own ways...
I hope that someone sees what I am trying to say in all of this. This is one of the first times I have ever openly shared my devotions with the Lord (its intimate..) But I felt so strongly about this, that I had to at least write it down again. Be encouraged today and praise our God for he is good. <3