Lately I have been going through the Old Testament and reading some awesome stories about the people in Jesus' time. As you can tell by my title, I read Nehemiah 9 today. God really touched my heart through this chapter (and book in general). In Nehemiah, I read about how the people would be heart-broken and sorrowful before the Lord whenever they disobeyed God.
"...for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God." - Nehemiah 9:3
Even in Ezra, the book of the Bible right before Nehemiah, we see the people devastated by their sins before the Lord.
"When I heard this, I tore my clothing, pulled my hair from my head and beard, and sat down utterly shocked." - Ezra 9:3
How often do we ignore, minimize, and make excuses for our sin? And even if we admit and confess our sin, we half-heartedly try to make amends with God. I know I am guilty of this. At times I find myself not really thinking about the wrong I have done or the degree to which I have dishonored our Heavenly Father.
After reading these passages, I was hit with another humbling lesson. I began to see a pattern as I was studying Nehemiah 9. Once the Isrealites confessed their sins for more than 3 hours, they proceeded to praise God for all He has done for them AND their ancestors.
In verses 6 through 31 the leaders of the Levites make much of God by remembering God's forgiveness, goodness, and mercy. Here is a brief snapshot of what their prayer looked like:
"You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars." (vs.6)
"And You have done what You promised, for You are always true to Your word." (vs. 8)
"You heard their cries from beside the Red Sea." (vs. 9)
"But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them..." (vs.17)
"You sustained them..." (vs.21)
And the list goes on...
I wanted to write this devotional today to encourage and challenge us all to humbly come before God and admit our wrongdoings. To not push our sins aside and pretend we have never turned our backs on the Lord. And when we do turn from our sin and turn to Him, know that He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
I know I needed this message tonight to convict me of my stubborn heart lately so I want to thank you all for reading this and letting me share it with you. I pray the Lord will use His Word to do a work in your heart as He did mine.
With love and prayers,