Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 9
I started my journey to read through the entire Bible this year on January 1st. On that day I read the first few chapters of Genesis. “In the beginning…” Some of you joined me right away on our journey, others came and went over the months.
In the beginning, I wrote a blog post about once a week or so. Then in the Spring I got the blog posting bug and posted nearly every day. August was very slim post wise as I was traveling and occupied with the duties of life.
During all of this, during the last nine months we have been reading the history, poetry, prophecy and wisdom of the people of Israel. A nation of Jews. God’s chosen people. We have heard how they were called through Abraham, led to Egypt by Joseph, led out of Egypt and slavery by Moses, conquered the promise land with Joshua’s help, became a great nation through King David’s hand and eventually split and went their own way after Solomon. While there have been different leaders and different national attitudes and responses to God, God himself had not changed. Today’s reading hit home to me how consistent the message of the Old Testament has been, it hit home how consistent God’s love has been.
It has been a message of how faithful and loving God has been to a very human people. It is the story of a people who despite having the perfect undivided attention of a perfect loving and just God still did not meet God’s standard. They still sinned and went their own way. They still looked at the provision of God and turned their back. But God never left them. His love never departed. Sure, He disciplined them, sure he allowed justice to be meted out. But His love never failed.
With this in mind read Nehemiah 9. It is a great summary of the past nine months of reading.
Some Nehemiah 9 (NIV) highlights:
5b “May your glorious name be praised! May it be exalted above all blessing and praise!
6 “You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you.
7 “You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and renamed him Abraham.
18 even when they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, ‘This is your god who brought you out of Egypt!’ They committed terrible blasphemies.
19 “But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night. 20 You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them manna from heaven or water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell!
22 “Then you helped our ancestors conquer kingdoms and nations, and you placed your people in every corner of the land.
26 “But despite all this, they were disobedient and rebelled against you. They turned their backs on your Law, they killed your prophets who warned them to return to you, and they committed terrible blasphemies. 27 So you handed them over to their enemies, who made them suffer. But in their time of trouble they cried to you, and you heard them from heaven. In your great mercy, you sent them liberators who rescued them from their enemies.
30 In your love, you were patient with them for many years. You sent your Spirit, who warned them through the prophets. But still they wouldn’t listen! So once again you allowed the peoples of the land to conquer them. 31 But in your great mercy, you did not destroy them completely or abandon them forever. What a gracious and merciful God you are! 32 “And now, our God, the great and mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of unfailing love, do not let all the hardships we have suffered seem insignificant to you.