Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 7:73-9:21 (additional reading: Psalm 33:12-22 and Proverbs 21:11-12)
There are times when we are excited, but there are other times when we are burned out. In fact, in our spiritual lives, we often experience indescribable joy when we contemplate God’s amazing grace, and we also grieve and mourn over our own tendency to tube out spiritually. Paul linked joy and grief together in Romans 7:22-25: “For in my inner being I delight [that’s joy] in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! [that’s grief]. Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
As we seen so far in Nehemiah, God’s people were told to stop mourning and start rejoicing. It’s now later in that same month, the “branch booths” and “tents of twigs” have been taken down. God’s Word is given central attention once again, but instead of jubilant praise, there is a mood of repentant sorrow. Nehemiah 8 focused on God’s Word as it was read, interpreted and applied; in chapter 9, the people respond in prayer with genuine sadness about their sins. Listening to God through His word and responding to Him in prayer are twin aspects of every believer’s experience. There can be no spiritual growth without the regular cultivation of this dual privilege and discipline.
Nehemiah 9 records an extended prayer, which is in fact, the longest prayer in the Bible outside the Psalms. This prayer is a brilliant mosaic of biblical quotations, recollections, images and phrases. The Levites, who led the people in this prayer of confession, knew Scripture by heart and relied on the language of the patriarchs, prophets, priests and psalmists. This confession accurately expresses the people’s disappointment with themselves and their confidence in God. In other words, this declaration of guilt has two elements ¬ they confess who God is and they confess their sins.
What do you need to do this today? First of all, do you personally see God as great, as good, and as gracious? If not, determine to lock into these theological truths and to never doubt them again. Personalize your faith by making it real. Secondly, based on who He is, what is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do right now? What practical step does He want you to implement?
Are you feeling excited or burned out?
How do you deal with Godly sorrow?
Father, Thank You that You show us the areas in our lives that need to be changed. Thank You that You change us and shape us into Christ’s likeness. Help us to be responsive to Your direction and guidance. In Jesus’ name, Amen