As we close out 2021, I’d like for us to look back a few centuries to the year 445 B.C. The place is Jerusalem. For the past one hundred years, returning Israelite exiles have been in Judah. During that time, people built homes. They planted crops. They rebuilt the Temple.
Finally, under the direction of Nehemiah, and despite constant opposition, the walls around the city of Jerusalem were rebuilt.
All the people assembled with one common purpose. They asked Ezra the priestly scribe to read The Book of the Law of Moses. While Ezra read from early morning to noon, the people stood and listened closely.
The next day the people assembled again. They stood for three hours while the Book of the Law of the Lord was read. Then they stood an additional three hours and confessed their sins and worshiped the LORD their God.
During this time, the people remembered their collective history. They recounted how the LORD who is a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love never abandoned his people. Even when his people abandoned him.
After the people remembered, they repented. They acknowledged their sins. They admitted that every time God punished his people, he was being just and gave them what they deserved. Which included being sent into Babylonian captivity.
The people rededicated themselves to obeying the Law of the LORD. They recommitted themselves to following the Word of God, and the LORD restored.
But restoration must bring transformation. If it doesn’t, there will be no real change. We’ll be back in the same spot we started in. Unless a heart-change is made, we will continue in the ways which separate us from God’s holiness.
That’s what happened to the Israelites, and that’s what can happen to us if our repentance, rededication, and recommitment do not also contain a transformed heart.
As we close out 2021, let us review God’s Word. Let us remember and recount how God led and carried us through 2021. With repentance, let us rededicate and recommit our lives to following the path God sets before us with a transformed heart to do his will.
I pray God blesses each of you richly in every area of your life as you put him first, and strive to do his will in the upcoming year. Thank you so much for reading what I write each week, and for letting me know how it touches your life. I appreciate you all more than you possibly could imagine.
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These men signed on behalf of the entire nation—for the common people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the choir members, the Temple servants, and all the rest who, with their wives and sons and daughters who were old enough to understand, had separated themselves from the heathen people of the land in order to serve God. For we all heartily agreed to this oath and vowed to accept the curse of God unless we obeyed God’s laws as issued by his servant Moses. Nehemiah 10:28-29 (TLB)
You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.
I wish you well.
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