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Day 205 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Nehemiah.
Nehemiah 7 – Genealogy is crucial for these descendants of Abraham: God plants in Nehemiah’s heart the task of tracing the promised seed. This is a reminder that God’s grace to His people travels down through history in our space and time. God’s work of redemption is not abstract or esoteric or difficult to perceive. His mighty acts of deliverance have always taken place in our space-and-time history. This is supremely the case with the coming of Jesus Christ—a certain man born in a certain place at a certain time.
How does it comfort you to know that God is not distant?
Nehemiah 8 – The focus of this gathering is the Book of the Law, God’s Word delivered by Moses. Especially through Ezra’s leadership, God’s people were reestablished as a people of the book. This meant more to them now than ever, for the visible greatness of impressive institutions such as the former temple had disappeared. Only the promises of God remained. The returned exiles played a great part in compiling the remaining Old Testament books. From this vivid scene we learn much about honoring God’s Word and about how that Word speaks to all (“men and women and all who could understand”).
Understanding God’s Word is emphasized, as the people are instructed by priests and Levites. They not only understand; they obey. And they rejoice.
Believers today are the recipients of this same, now-complete book passed on and preserved by God’s people, a book whose power comes from the God who graciously breathed out its words to give us guidance, safety, and hope on our journey through a fallen world (Psalm 19:7–14; 2 Timothy 3:16). In this Word we are enabled to understand the character of and to actually meet the Word made flesh, the One who was there from the beginning, who was promised, and who came, according to God’s Word (John 1:1–2, 14).
Receiving this Word, both inscripturated and incarnated, brings us, far more than Israel in Nehemiah 8, to rejoice.
How does being able to read God’s Word and talk with Him in prayer, bring you closer to God?
Nehemiah 9 – This is the longest recorded prayer in the Bible. It confesses before a faithful God the history of a faithless people.
As Jesus’ followers we are grafted into this family (Galatians 3:7–9), and we can share in this prayer for mercy from our covenant-keeping God. The prayer unfolds history as God’s acts of grace and mercy—from creation, to the Abrahamic covenant, to the deliverance from Egypt, to God’s wilderness provisions (including the law), to a kingdom in a rich land. This outpouring of God’s faithfulness is interrupted by two sections which confess the people’s rebellion against him (verses 16–21, 26–31). But there are repeated appeals to a merciful God, “abounding in steadfast love” (Exodus 34:6; Deuteronomy 7:9). The focus is on God’s “covenant and steadfast love”, ever the basis on which His people approach Him.
Praise God! We can know and name the Christ in whom all the promises of God are “yes” and “Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). The Old Testament people of God knew that God was full of grace and truth. We today see grace and truth itself embodied in Jesus (John 1:14–18).
How are you thankful for God’s grace and truth in your life?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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