I do pray that I can communicate the strengthening effect that reading Nehemiah Chapter 9 had on me recently. It tells of God’s covenant love and faithfulness to His people throughout their history, in spite of their frequent turning away from Him, for which they were suffering in exile in Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:15-21).
News reached Nehemiah in Babylon that the Jewish remnant in Israel were suffering because the wall of Jerusalem had been broken down and the gates burned (Nehemiah 1:3). Nehemiah held the position of cup bearer to the king, a situation which reminds me of Esther and how God puts His people in strategic positions ready to carry out His purposes. Favour was granted by the king for Nehemiah to travel with security escort and provisions to his homeland to repair the wall.
In Chapter 9, we read how the wall had been successfully repaired and the people turned back to God in repentance as Ezra read God’s laws to them. They renewed their commitment to obey them and praised God for His faithfulness over the years.
As I read of God’s compassionate heart for His people, how He saw their suffering and heard their cry, how He led them, taught them, disciplined, forgave and provided for them, I had the words in my mind, ‘I the Lord do not change’ (Malachi 3:6). There is so much about God’s character and His ways with us in this chapter. I encourage you to read the whole of it and let the Holy Spirit minister these wonderful truths to you.
God keeps His promises (verses 7-8, and 24). God made a covenant with His faithful servant, Abraham, to give his descendants the land of Canaan. It was many years later that this actually happened, but God’s promise was fulfilled. We read in verse 8, ‘You have kept Your promise because You are righteous’. If you’re waiting for a promise from God to be fulfilled, don’t give up – God keeps His word.
God provides (verses 15 and 21). Just because we can’t see where provision is going to come from, doesn’t mean that it will not be provided. God is able to supply our needs in ways which are impossible to imagine – like bread from the sky and water from the rock (and not just material needs, but the needs we have in other areas too).
God forgives and never abandons us. God led them out of bondage (entirely by His power and strategy, not theirs), guided them and instructed them by His Spirit through dry and bewildering times, all the while leading them into the fruitful land He had promised. This is what He still does for us.
No matter what we may be going through, the truth is, and always will be, that, though all around us may be changing, God doesn’t change. He is and always will be faithful, loving, compassionate, utterly dependable. His promise to provide, guide, heal and forgive remains true and His desire to walk with us in close relationship is as true now as when He created mankind.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which assures us of Your love and constant faithfulness. Thank You that, even if we don’t always understand Your ways, I can trust You and totally depend on You. You are unchanging and I am secure in You. Thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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