Nehemiah 9:18 – “Yes, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt – yet you in your manifold mercies didn’t forsake them in the wilderness”
God is not a human. It sounds simple enough, but the way he deals with people is very different to the way that we do.
This verse is a great example of that. Human wisdom would say ‘leave them in the desert to perish for their sin’. But even though the Israelites had experienced the very glory and reality of God, and then gone and made a golden calf saying “This is our God” – the Lord did not leave them.
In the midst of their sin, the cloud by day and fire by night remained – to show them light, and the way in which they should go.
2 Timothy 2:13 puts this well, saying ‘If we are faithless, he remains faithful – he can’t deny himself’. It’s His kindness in spite of our hardness and sinfulness that brings us back to repentance.
If you feel like you’ve fallen away from God – the solution is simple! Repent, and turn back to God! He hasn’t given up on you!
Nehemiah 8:8 – They read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly; and they gave the sense, so that they understood the reading.
During the time of Nehemiah, the Israelites gathered together and called on Ezra the priest to open the Book of the Law and teach them from it. A great and powerful move of God swept through the people as they heard the words read to them.
In this verse we see how Ezra taught the people.
Firstly, we see that he read from the Book distinctly. He read it word for word before the people so that they would hear the words for themselves. It’s so important for teachers and preachers to remember that it’s God’s word, and not our words that will help people to connect with Him. The Bible is full of teachings, mysteries and things that are beyond our comprehension. Yet our first duty is to take these things in their raw form and set them before those that we teach.
Secondly, he gave the sense, so that those who read understood the meaning. Having put the pure Word of God out there, he now works to bring to the people a clear understanding and revelation of what it means.
This pattern is one that we can all follow regardless of if we’re leading a church, leading a family, leading a homegroup, or leading one person closer to Jesus. Give people the pure Word, and then put it a way that they can understand it.