Last week, we looked at the first step to reconstruction…That included hearing, understanding and implementing God’s Word. We hear what God has for us, we begin to understand what He is trying to tell us, and we put what He says into practice. That is an important first step if we are going to reconstruct our lives, our churches and our world for Him.
Today, we will look at step 2. Step two includes confession and commitment.
Now, remember that the people of Jerusalem have just finished celebrating the Festival of the Booths. Now, the festival has ended.
Nehemiah 9:1-3 – First, we see that this is a time of preparation for prayer. They are getting ready to come before the Lord as a community…as His people. They begin with fasting and in humbleness. They are coming before the Lord as people who have done wrong…they have sinned…they have been disobedient and they are showing the signs of it. The Israelites have a special history and confession because they are the chosen people. They confess their sins and the sins of those before them that led them to this point. They are getting ready to pray.
Nehemiah 9:6 through end of chapter 9
Notice that Ezra begins this prayer with an acknowledgement of who God is and what He has done. Praising and remembering is important. After it is acknowledged who God is and His great power, then they recounted what God had done, where their people had sinned, and where they were today. They end this prayer with a commitment to God. What was the commitment?
They commit to do as God’s Word has instructed. It goes on to explain what God’s Word is telling them and how they will obey.
Here is what I hear from this scripture for us today:
1 – We need to prepare ourselves when we come before Him. We do not have the rituals and ways of preparation to show our humility. In that, I think we can lose some of our respect and awe of the One who is listening and the One we serve. We should prepare our hearts to come before the King. When we realize who He is, we realize who we are not. We also realize our sins and shortcomings.
2 – When come before Him, we should acknowledge His great power and His great love for us. We tend to instantly go right into asking what we want without thanking Him and acknowledging this great power. We are praying to the creator God…we are praying in the name of the One who gave His life for you and me.
3 – We should take time to think back and remember how good God has been to us. That is often difficult to do if we are in a trial. We can easily find ourselves in difficult situations and we don’t know where God is. When we are in the midst of the storm, we are calling out for Him and may not see Him. But when we look back, we are comforted because we see His hands taking care of us every step of the way even though we didn’t even notice it then. We can become so consumed with what is going on that we don’t realize that God has it taken care of. God’s got this.
We also have to admit where we have gone wrong. We do so many things in haste and disobedience. We go our own way, do our own thing, ignore the warning signs and then wonder where God is. When we look back we see the hand of God, but we also see where we have strayed. The praise in that is that although we strayed, God helped us. The reminder is that we stray and we need to focus on Him.
4 – Lastly, they made a commitment that they would be obedient to God and His Word. There is a reason we still have the scriptures. It isn’t because it was a really good book. There have been lots of really good books written over the years. It is because this book isn’t a book, but the Word of God for us, the people of God. What if God’s people made a commitment to follow the Word? While it will not look like it did in Nehemiah’s time, it will look like what God wants it to be if we are obedient.
Do we want to reconstruction? Maybe it is time for confession and commitment so that we become more like what He has called us to be and less like what the world would have us to be.