Scripture: Nehemiah 9:26-38
Key verse: (33) You have been just in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.
Reflection: A local church is having revival this week. Daily worship services are an opportunity to gather, to hear God’s word, and to renew commitments to follow Jesus Christ as disciples. Worshipers pray to be forgiven of sin and to experience the grace of God in a powerful way that revives their spirits. Recognizing and confessing our sin is a key step on the journey of faithfulness.
In the Old Testament, God’s people are caught in a cycle of faithfulness, then sin, then recognition and repentance, followed by a time of renewed faithfulness, and then sin again, and so on. After a time of exile in Babylon, the people were allowed to return to their homeland and Nehemiah was appointed governor over them. The book of Nehemiah records a tremendous revival of their commitment to God. In today’s passage the people of Israel were gathered together. They fasted, they wore sackcloth and they prayed together. Their priest Ezra prayed a long prayer of confession on behalf of the nation, acknowledging that cycle of faithfulness and sin that had been repeated over and over. Ezra also proclaimed God’s steadfast faithfulness and justice.
Honestly we all live in that cycle of faithfulness, then sin, then recognition and repentance that leads to renewed faithfulness. The good news is that God remains steadfast in loving us. God is gracious and merciful. God is patient and generous. Wherever you are today, whether you feel close to God or you feel far away in some kind of spiritual exile, whether you are living selfishly or unselfishly loving your neighbors, whether you are serving others or serving only yourself, God is steadfast in loving you. God invites you to confess, to repent, and to begin again. And again. And again.
Prayer: Just as I am, thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come; I come!
Just as I am, thy love unknown has broken every barrier down;
Now to be thine, yea, thine alone; O Lamb of God, I come; I come!
Thank you for meeting me where I am today, O Lord. Revive my spirit and renew my faithfulness. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].