“You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.” – Nehemiah 9:6
If we’re being honest, life as a Christian can be hard. Trying to live in a world that is everything opposite from what we know we ought to be as followers of Christ, trying to find time to read the Bible with crazy schedules, trying to live the best Christian life we know how. And because of these things, and many others, we as Christians tend to lose our way and get off track at one point or another. Whether we mean to or not, it happens to all of us.
We see in Scripture this happening to all our favorite Bible heroes: Noah, Moses, even David–the man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)! And we see time and time again in the Old Testament that the Israelites, God’s chosen people, get off the beaten path.
Nehemiah chapter 9 is a chapter situated in the story of a small remnant of those very people trying to settle back into Jerusalem after being carried away into Babylonian captivity, something divinely allowed by God because of their disobedience. But even though their story has made a huge left turn off the beaten path, we see a glimmer of hope in Nehemiah 9. This chapter serves as a great example as to what we should do when we get off track in our Spiritual walk with God.
Nehemiah 9:17 tells us regarding these Israelites, “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles You performed among them.” There were many things Israel did wrong before exile, but two things are mentioned here. First, the refused to listen to God. And secondly, they failed to remember the miracles God did among them. And when we stray, how often have we have done these exact things! But we see in Nehemiah 9 that the Israelites are ready to get back on track. They want to honor God and serve Him according to His law. When we reach that point in our own lives, we can follow what they did to get back on track.
#1. They read the Law, allowed it to penetrate them, and then committed to obeying it. This is found throughout chapters 8-10 of Nehemiah. The Israelites allowed the Law (which in our day would be the Bible), to penetrate them so deeply that they were actually moved to tears upon hearing and understanding it (Neh. 8:9). Later in chapter 10, we find themselves committing to following the Law once again (10:28-39). When we stray, it’s important to get back into God’s Word. That’s where God will show us the next steps forward.
#2. They confessed their sins. When we go astray, this is a big one. When we confess we’ve sinned and gone astray, God is willing to take us back and forgive us immediately (1 John 1:9). But it’s the confession that allows that relationship to blossom and begin again.
#3. They recounted all God had done and who He always had been. When we find ourselves astray, it’s likely because we’ve put God on the back burner and haven’t thought all that much about what He’s done and saved us from. A large portion of Nehemiah 9 is dedicated to recounting the past–the promises God kept (vs. 7-8), His miracles and strength (vs. 9-11), His faithful leadership (vs. 12), and His character (vs. 17, 19-21). When you’ve lost your way, remember all God did for you, who He always has been, and what He’s rescued you from. Just the thought that He rescued us from eternal darkness and brought us into His everlasting Kingdom should be enough to light some kind of spark in your soul again.
After they recounted all God had done and who He was, and after they worshiped Him (vs. 5-6), they made one statement in this chapter that I love, and it’s in verse 33. It says this, “In all that has happened to us, You have remained righteous; You have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly.”
That’s our God, friends. No matter how far we go, no matter where we end up, no matter what we’ve done, God is still God. He is still here. He still loves you. And He’s waiting for you to come back with opens arms. Confess your sin, Get into His Word, and remember all the amazing things He’s done for you, even the most basic [but amazing] of things like salvation. He hasn’t left you, and He’s waiting for you to come home. I pray this can be a guide to help you start your journey into the Father’s arms.
Until next time,