In Nehemiah 9, we find the Israelites were once again standing in repentance for forgetting God and turning their backs on him. They forgot the God who made the Heavens and Earth, the God who had seen their oppression and miraculously parted the Red Sea, the God who led them through the wilderness, the God who had gifted them the Sabbath, and the God who had provided water and food in the desert. They had seen His lovingkindness, care and miracles, but they forgot. The pain in their life was too loud. They only saw the desert, the tents, the danger and the utter dependence and helplessness that made up their day-to-day life.
The truth is, we don’t like to live like that either. It only takes a struggle with finances, health, our family, relationships or anything else in our lives we cannot control to cause us to sometimes lose sight of God and who He is. Nehemiah 9:17a says, “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery in Egypt.”
Gratefulness helps us to remember what God has done in the past and gives us the courage to lift our eyes above our circumstance and place them on the good God who holds our lives. This gives us hope for the future. When we don’t remember, we often come to the wrong conclusions about God and begin to hold him at arm’s length. Much like the Israelites, we become resistant to him. Forgetfulness leads to waywardness.
Even though the Israelites forgot and turned their back on God, they found He had never turned His back on them. Nehemiah 9:17b says, “But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, Therefore you did not desert them...” When we forget, we, too, will find God to be forgiving, gracious, compassionate, not angry and abounding with faithful love for us. Even in our forgetfulness, he never abandons us. Remembering leads to faithfulness. Let’s be ones who in the middle of hardship, begin to remember the good things God has done in all of our lives.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)
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