In The Word
Read Nehemiah 9:1-21
The People Confess Their Sin
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God. Now on the Levites’ platform stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Chenani, and they cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God.
Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah, said, “Arise, bless the Lord your God forever and ever!
O may Your glorious name be blessed
And exalted above all blessing and praise!
“You alone are the Lord.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.
“You are the Lord God,
Who chose Abram
And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees,
And gave him the name Abraham.
“You found his heart faithful before You,
And made a covenant with him
To give him the land of the Canaanite,
Of the Hittite and the Amorite,
Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite—
To give it to his descendants.
And You have fulfilled Your promise,
For You are righteous.
“You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt,
And heard their cry by the Red Sea.
“Then You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
Against all his servants and all the people of his land;
For You knew that they acted arrogantly toward them,
And made a name for Yourself as it is this day.
“You divided the sea before them,
So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground;
And their pursuers You hurled into the depths,
Like a stone into raging waters.
“And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day,
And with a pillar of fire by night
To light for them the way
In which they were to go.
“Then You came down on Mount Sinai,
And spoke with them from heaven;
You gave them just ordinances and true laws,
Good statutes and commandments.
“So You made known to them Your holy sabbath,
And laid down for them commandments, statutes and law,
Through Your servant Moses.
“You provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger,
You brought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst,
And You told them to enter in order to possess
The land which You swore to give them.
“But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly;
They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.
“They refused to listen,
And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them;
So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But You are a God of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness;
And You did not forsake them.
“Even when they made for themselves
A calf of molten metal
And said, ‘This is your God
Who brought you up from Egypt,’
And committed great blasphemies,
You, in Your great compassion,
Did not forsake them in the wilderness;
The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day,
To guide them on their way,
Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.
“You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth,
And You gave them water for their thirst.
“Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
The Israelites continued to listen to God’s Word, and they began to see the way they lived in sin. They fasted and put on sackcloth and ashes; sackcloth and ashes were signs of mourning and grief. After the reading of the Law, they corporately acknowledged the greatness of God and confessed their sins. The Israelites cried out to God for forgiveness; they knew that He was a “God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness” (Nehemiah 9:17).
It is important that we are continually in God’s Word to see if there is any area of our life that is displeasing to him. “For through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). When we see an area of sin remaining in our lives, we are supposed to confess that sin to God and to mourn because our sin is grievous to God. Our sorrow is an important step because it leads to repentance; this changes our behavior away from sin and toward God (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). When we humble ourselves and commit to correct our wrong actions, God will forgive us and restore our relationship.
Sometimes we can dismiss our sins as no big deal knowing that God is willing to forgive us. Even our “small” sins are grievous to God. If God’s Word has revealed to you an area of sin in your life, confess it in sorrow and commit to move back to God’s ways. God will receive you and forgive your sins.