(Teacher: John Piper-click on the link)
A model of mercy, not a model of physical beauty, is what’s important to God.
(Teacher: Stormie Omartian)
Read and consider Nehemiah 9:1-37
“But in Your great mercy You did not put an end to them, for You are a gracious and merciful God.” (Nehemiah 9:31)
“Nehemiah and the people of Israel had just accomplished an impossible mission. They had rebuilt the massive walls of Jerusalem in record time. Against all odds and opposition they had succeeded. Now it was time for another kind of rebuilding–accepting and applying God’s written instructions for His people.
Nehemiah 8 describes a national Bible study of sorts, as Ezra reintroduced God’s law to the people. Chapter 9 records the effects of God’s Word settling into the hearts and minds of God’s people. They arrived at a clear understanding of how far they had drifted from God’s ways, and so they gathered for a great service of national repentance and worship.
In God’s presence, the people reviewed their history, highlighting the repeated sins of the nation as well as God’s repeated mercy and faithfulness. This review wasn’t to inform God, but to demonstrate to themselves that they understood how things had come to be. They were standing as a small remnant of a great nation that had been humbled under God’s just judgement. In God’s mercy they had returned to their land. Their very existence was an amazing tribute to God’s faithfulness. Despite everything His people had done to violate the covenants He had made with them in the past, God had kept His word. They knew God was faithful, so they dared to start over.
Their prayer of confession offers us a good example. We need to review our spiritual history in prayer from time to time. Particularly when we have followed the Lord for a long time, we need to trace the journey we have traveled with Him. Perhaps we hesitate to do this because we realize our history with God is like the Israelites’ was–full of our failures as well as God’s faithfulness. God certainly takes no pleasure in our review of sins unless it leads us to repentance and a clearer understanding of all He has done to guard and guide us along the way. Thank God for all the times He has shown His mercy and grace to you.”
Stormie Omartian shares this prayer:
“Lord, I am aware every day of Your great mercy toward me. Thank You that You have never judged me according to what I have deserved. Your grace toward me is beyond comprehension. Thank You that You will never forsake me. Help me to never forsake You in any way either. I pray that my attitude will always be right before You, and I will never take Your mercy for granted.”
Teacher: Pastor Charles Stanley
A great site that answers this question and more, based on God’s Word.