God is the One who sets up the ways of mankind. Rules and regulations, leaders and judges are for the protection and benefit of God’s people. Notice in verses 16-17 God is concerned with fairness for all people groups. He states specifically to judge fairly and show no partiality in judging no matter who it is, their status, or popularity. All people are to be treated equally – whether a friend or foe.
I love what God tells His people. God said, “Do not be afraid of any man, for judgment belongs to God.” And this we know for sure – God is good, righteous, just, and does what He says He will do. He knows and sees the hearts and motives of all humans, so His judgments are the best. Being in the hands of God is a far better and a safer place to be than that of any humans.
I love the prayers in Scripture. They are awesomely powerful. They usually start with acknowledging who God is and His greatness. They usually have intercession on behalf of the whole community and repentance. The one who prays includes one’s self; not saying “they”, but we have sinned. The prayer asks God to hear the prayer and respond to the request made.
The parts of this specific prayer are:
• Acknowledge who God is & His greatness
• Ask God to hear the prayer
• Confession of sin of community and self
• Remind God of His promise
• Intercession on behalf of God’s people
• Personal request
Nehemiah’s prayer was heartfelt. It was short and to the point. He didn’t use fancy words or lengthy statements God heard his plea and answered him with a yes.
Note: Days before Nehemiah prayed this prayer he wept, fasted and prayed.
We can learn from Nehemiah’s prayer. Praying Scripture is not only powerful and effective, but fun to do. Just change names and places. Then insert name & place; adjusting the prayer to make sense when you pray it. Here’s an example:
“LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, 6 let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer Your servant is praying before You day and night for Your servants, THE CHURCH or THIS COUNTRY. I confess the sins we, THE CHURCH or THIS COUNTRY, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against You. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward You. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws You gave your servant Moses. AND WE HAVE NOT FOLLOWED JESUS, BUT GONE OUR OWN WAY.
The word Nehemiah received was that people were in great trouble and disgraced. And why was this? These are God’s chosen ones. Shouldn’t they be living blessed lives – in the land flowing of milk and honey? They should be, but they weren’t. Why was this? It’s because they turned away from God; doing their own thing – doing what was right in their own eyes, and turning their back to the Word of God. Scripture says, “We reap what we sow.”
It was a hard road back, but God, in His faithfulness never gives up on His people. For every action, whether good or bad, there is a consequence. Now, God’s people are reaping what was sown. But God, in His mercy, is leading them into repentance. God moves in the hearts of man in order that His promises to His people will come to pass. It is all God. What a gracious God we serve.
When we turn to God, God will do amazing things in our lives and the lives of those around us. We just need to repent – ask God’s forgiveness and sin no more.
Ezra was deeply distressed and appalled because of the sin the people were entrenched in. The tearing of clothes and pulling out hair were outward signs of inner turmoil and despair. Before Ezra prays he humbles himself by his posture. He kneels before God with his hands held high. Doing this symbolized that his need for God is great. When he prays, he is all inclusive. He doesn’t say they, but includes himself as part of the problem. Although he was innocent of the sin he was confessing. When one sins, they all sin; when one is guilty, they all are guilty. Then he begins his prayer with acknowledging their sins and the sins of their forefathers; generational sins. Notice how he doesn’t blame God for anything, but takes full responsibility for the state they are in and that it is their own fault. Also, he is not blaming past generations or other nations for hardship they are in. He is simply acknowledging that the people now are no better than past generations.(for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God).
Next, Ezra remembers God’s faithfulness to an unfaithful people. He’s speaking of God’s kindness. Again recounts the people’s sin and what God had said about it. Ezra is mortified over the people’s sin and realized that God’s mercies are great and never ending.
Lord, teach us, Your people how to pray. Come Holy Spirit lead us into intercession for our families, the church, Your people, our country. Bring to our remembrance Your unfailing mercies and grace, Your never ending faithfulness, and Your unconditional love. Lord, God of Israel, be glorified in our lives; the lives of Your people. We love You, and thank You for Your Word.
God spoke of three offerings:
1. Daily offerings – Christ said we are to present our bodies as pleasing sacrifices before the Lord God.
2. Sabbath offering – more is required on the Sabbath. This is more than a giving of ourselves to the Lord God.
3. Monthly offerings – above and beyond the Sabbath and daily offerings.
Offerings for us – in our generation we don’t give animal offerings nor sacrifices. Jesus Christ is our one and only final Sacrifice – once and for all. However, we should never go to God empty handed. All things come from Him, so what He gives we are to give at least 1/10 back to Him. To name a few offerings and sacrifices that we can give to God: time, money, talents, skills. Notice when God was declaring an offering from the people, He didn’t just ask for one thing. Most people think only money when they hear offering or sacrifice, but money is only one small part of giving.
Lord God of Israel show us what to give and where to give our sacrifices and offerings to You. Open our ears to hear and our hearts to accept Your Word. Thank You.
God is concerned with future generation’s inheritance. He made provisions so that the next generation and the following generations would not be left out of obtaining an inheritance.
Thank you God that You are faithful not only to past generations and the people of today, but You are concerned for the welfare of future generations. Thank you for making provisions for future generations, so that they won’t be left out of the inheritance that You give Your people.
God Almighty; the One true God; the God of Israel is above all. He is sovereign. Nothing can be done unless God allows it. He is supreme; nothing can withstand Him. Everything has to bow before Him; bow to do His will. What an awesome God we serve.
Thank you God for Your faithfulness to Your people. Even when we do not deserve Your blessings, You stay faithful to Your Word. Help us to bring glory and honor to Your Holy Name; the Name above all names. In the mighty Name of Jesus Messiah, our Lord and Saviour.