Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nehemiah 9:1-3

In his first epistle, the apostle John explains the forgiveness of God this way, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
In the gospel of Luke, Jesus tells a story of a tax collector who prayed to God saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus went on to say, “this man went down to his house justified…for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
The Psalmist writes of God’s forgiveness with, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
Knowing this, why would we not repent of our sins? Why would we not avail ourselves of the forgiveness and mercy that He extends? Why would we choose to hide, or excuse, or ignore, or rationalize, or belittle our sin?
If the gracious gifts of forgiveness and restoration are available, why would we not open our palms to receive them? Why rather, with clenched fists would we go on in self-deprecating sin?
When we read Nehemiah 8-9, we find that the people of Jerusalem are experiencing a revival of repentance. The gravity of their disobedience to the law of God has sparked in them a desire to undo the wrongs. They had praised and worshipped God for His goodness only to find shortly thereafter that even in their praise they had been disobedient to Him. But He is longsuffering and patient.
As Ezra read the law, the people must have been comforted by the truth of God found in the book of Numbers, “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression…”
If they were willing to repent, He was willing to forgive. What a great God we serve! He is not a “once and done” God. He would be justified if He were, but He is even more glorious because He extends grace and forgiveness to those Who transgress against Him. He holds restoration in a higher regard than punishment. So find restoration today. Whatever thing you are wrestling in your soul, confess it. Ask Him for the forgiveness that He already said He wants to give you.

Food For Thought: Write out a verse and reference that deals with the forgiveness of our God.