Nehemiah 8 and 9 are the smell and aroma of revival. The Lord has visited His people and they are returning fully to Him.
In chapter 8 they had gathered to hear God’s word read and explained. This had provoked mourning and weeping, but they are sent home to feast and enjoy being together in God’s presence. Then the realise from their study of Scripture that they should be feasting, to remember God’s goodness. Today’s reading is 24 days later when they come to do business with the Lord over their sin.
I love that God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). So they gather again to read God’s word together. There’s something about hearing God’s word aloud that makes it sink in all the more. They spend a quarter of the day standing and listening and then the next quarter of the day confessing their sin and re-aligning their lives around what God wants. Then it’s back to worship again in v5.
Here’s 7 things we can learn about prayer from this passage
- God is the only God – They declare that “You are the Lord, you alone” – we reject all other gods, or idols that vie for our affections.
- God is the creater – they declare that the Lord made everything. That puts him in His rightfull place in our hearts and minds, sovereign over all creation.
- They recognised that God had chosen them – he’d chosen Abram and therefore them to be part of the people of God. It’s all God’s choice, not our worth or worthiness, but His choice. It all depends on Him – we are saved by grace not works.
- They reviewed their history with God – recalling all that Lord had done for the people of God from Abram right up to the present day
- They reviewed their corporate and individual failings – confessing their sin to the Lord.
- They remember good doctrine and praise God with declarative truth – God is great v32, mighty v32, awsome v32, steadfast and covenant keeping v32, righteous v33
- They put them selves us God’s lordship afresh v33-37