Suggested Reading: Nehemiah 9
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Key Verse: Nehemiah 9:2
Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
Not only did the people confess their sins (a prerequisite to effective prayer), but they also confessed the history of God’s “amazing grace” through the centuries since Abraham. This is a thorough review of the past. Verse 36 brings the story to the present, “We are Your servants today!” “We are in great distress” (9:37b). Then we read the conclusion for the future: “We make a sure covenant and write it.” A “covenant” is the most solemn and binding agreement possible between two or more parties. In this case, it was a legal document between God and the individual person. It was most important that the “covenant” be witnessed and sealed by leaders, priests and Levites. We may want to conclude our meditation on chapter 9 by reading out loud from Nehemiah 9:5b to 9:38, the end of the chapter. Next, we may want to write our covenant with God and others over the next few days. For those people in Jerusalem, this process took 12 hours. Don’t rush it. Share it with me at [email protected] – share it with your leaders in faith. Perhaps this could even be a part of your last will and testament. Be generous with your family members, and then they’ll pay close attention when, by law, the lawyer is required to read it out loud. On second thought, it may be too personal to share it with me. You can leave that out, but I would be very interested to know that readers have taken me up on this suggestion. Believe me, it will be worth the huge effort required.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, I confess my sins and trust You for the forgiveness You promised (2 Chronicles 7:14 and 1 John 1:9). I also confess as the people did. It is taking longer today, but You are not in a hurry. I pray that I will slow down and take more time with You. I pray this in the Name of the One who told the story of the Jew who collected taxes for Rome and prayed a short prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” and who, according to Jesus, went to his home justified (made right in God’s sight), Amen! Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I confess that I’ve gone well over my goal of 100 words. Please forgive me, and I’m sorry to report that I’ll probably do it again. I guess that means that I have not truly repented. I have a bad cold just now and my head is stuffed up. I guess that includes my brain. What I really want is for my head to be stuffed full of God’s thoughts as recorded in Scripture.
From time to time I have written out a statement, put it in my top centre drawer in my desk, opened the drawer first thing each day, and read the statement. It was a very effective way to focus myself on those things that are really important! That statement was not what I want put in my will, but a sentence, using as few words as possible, to describe my commitment to God and to others. For example, when the Crossroads Ministry had a big financial need, I would write something like this: “I am absolutely sure that God will meet the needs of the ministry, providing sufficient funds to pay every bill!” What about that. The ministry is still moving forward after 51 years. Thank You, Lord!
Yours for spending whatever time is necessary on putting first things first, and as someone has said, “Let the main thing be the main thing!”