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May 10, 2007

Not because of who we are-but because of Who He is

Background:A rejoicing feast of the booths is over. The Israelites now gather once again, this time not as a celebration but for an extensive time of repentance and recognising what God has done for them. They have been reading/hearing from the Book of Law everyday since they finished the Wall of Jerusalem and it has been showing them the light they much needed. Now they realise Who God really is and who they are in the light of the Book of Law being read. They repent. How could have God managed to walk in love with selfish, disobedient people such as them and me? Here we'll see

Here I list some beautiful lessons from Nehemiah 9
  1. God is righteous(v8)-"You have kept your promise because you are righteous. " I have heard this many times, "oh I have been good and thats why God has blessed me" I had that attitude too. I cannot totally vouch my blessings on any qualification I have before God, except that He has been bountifully generous to me. I just qualify as a human being a child of Adam whom God has been seeking to restore from the beginning of His creation since my first forefather sinned and separated himself and us from God.
  2. God is abounding in love(is love Himself)(v17)-"But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love". The Israelites see their ancestors' behaviour one of arrogance, ungratefulness, selfishness, dissatisfied even when they were well fed by God in the middle of the desert and then they see that God still did not abandon them even at the point when they built a calf for themselves saying thats what delivered them out of Egypt. God fogave them because He loved them and had compassion on them. He delayed His anger.
  3. God is compassionate and merciful(v9-v19)-"19 "Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert" Where would I be without God being merciful, surely in hell. My name means mercy in hindi and I have enough evidence and experiences in my life where God has been so merciful to me. The Israelites realised how far they stretched God's patience with them. While the Israelites rebelled against God, God still gave them guidance with the pillar of cloud and fire, God still fed them with heaven's food manna. God sustained them through 40yrs of desert life and they lacked nothing. Never abandoned.
  4. God is our Saviour and Redeemer(v26-28)-The Israelites rebelled against God and killed His prophets and thats when we read for the first time in this chapter "27 So you handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them." This punishment didn't happen to them when they made an image replacing God, but when they touched/harmed God's people. Whenever I read God handed them over I view it as the disobedient people of God have broken out of the hedge of protection and gone out of the line of security God had given for them, choosing rather to go back to slavery than to live in freedom and peace. In all this the verse continues to say "But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies." Can you comprehend that!!! This happened not once but repetitively through the Israelites journey with God.
  5. God is faithful(v32-v34)-33 In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong.". God is a God who kept His covenant of love with that one man Abraham and has still kept it till this day. We have strayed, we have disobeyed, we have rebelled even when God provided, yet God has remained faithful to His covenant of love.

Conclusion: By the end of their analysis of the way God has dealt with their forefathers in the past and what they are going through now, the Israelites realise something is not right "36 "But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our forefathers so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. 37 Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress." . The Israelites make yet another effort to re-establish their connection with God "In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it."

What about us? God has made things much more simpler for us, through His Son Lord Jesus Christ, just so we would believe in Him and live rightly before God. Thats all that is required. On the day God made the covenant with Abraham, He put a deep sleep on Abraham so Abraham did not have to walk through the sacrifice laid out for the covenant. God walked through it alone, knowing the traits of a fallen man. He took the whole responsibility of keeping that covenant, all we have to do is accept this great outpouring of love and see how it fills our lives and overflows into the lives of others. All we have to do is believe in our Loving God and obey, not to gain something from Him but because we love God in return for His love toward us.


Live, Love, Laugh said...

I always get a blessing when I come here. I love the way you are always sharing the Word and breaking it down so it fits today, right now at this very moment. You have the gift of wisdom, God truly has blessed you immensely and He has blessed me by allowing me to come here and enjoy what He is sharing with you.

Neva said...

God is so good to us--sharing His word and His plan and using you to do so.


Sista Cala said...

What a powerful post. I read the last paragraph a couple of times, just letting it soak in. Particularly how God walked through it alone because He knew the fraility of man. On the other hand,We can walk through anything because we know the POWER of God.

uncommon1 said...

beautiful post. i can't even grasp that kinda self-less love. i'm striving towards loving God simply because He loves me.

audrey` said...

I love the title very much.
It speaks volume =)