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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Boldly Asking Forgiveness

There is a  profound prayer in the Book of Nehemiah; a prayer, or prayers asking forgiveness of many sins committed over many years. Do not let the enemy ever lie to you, saying you have gone too far this time. Whether it is condemnation for unbelief, outright sin, or years of doubt; we now have an Advocate sitting at the right hand of the Father on High.


This is a brief description of the basics of the prayer given by Israel during the time of Nehemiah, also during the days of Ezra. A small remnant had just returned to Jerusalem from captivity. When they considered the way things used to be in this beautiful city, the depth to which they had fallen, and the seeming hopelessness of their situation, after their petitions to God, the repentance ended up being so joyful that God Himself made them rejoice with great joy; both the adults and the children. The joy of Jerusalem was heaerd afar off! Nehemiah 12:43) After repentance, great joy!


Here was the process, what was said, the recognition and honesty of their sin, and the end result. It starts in Nehemiah 9.



1. they assembled as a group with sackcloth, fasting and casting earth upon themselves; a representation of their deep sorrow and acknowledgement of the need for forgiveness from God.



2. The seperated themselves from strangers (unbelievers) and stood and confessed their sins and even confessed the sins of their fathers, the previous generation. They acknowledged their history of rebellion.


3. Before they listed their sins they acknowleged Who God was; what He had done for them in the past and His goodness, exalted p[osition, and the Creator of both the heavens and the earth. The Creator of all things. The hosts of heaven, even the heaven of heavens, the earth and all things that are in it, the sea and all things that are in it and His ability to preserve all of them.


Before repentance we need to recognize the vastness of our Creator. His power, sovereinty, grace and ability to do all things.


4. They reminded God of His great works for them from the beginning; the calling of Abraham; whose heart was found faithful to God. The many peoples God allowed Abraham to subdue and conquer, the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and the Girgashites.


5. It was because of God's faithfulness and covenant promises they even existed. His word was true, even though they had fallen into great rebellion.


6. God saw the affliction of the Children of Israel in Egypt and delivered them with great and mighty works through His servant Moses.


7. He removed the proud and arrogant Egyptians who were dealing proudly against Israel. He made a great Name for Himself and His people. The nations of the area knew of their great deliverance. (Likewise, our friends, neighbors and relatives also know of our great deliverance from a life of selfishness, rebellion, pride and sin).


8. He led Israel by a cloudly pillar by day and a pillar of fire by night; never leaving them, even while they were rebelling.


9. They came to Mount Sinai and God spoke to them and gave them the Law, Statutes and Commandments by which to conduct themselves.


10. He brought water out of a rock for them to drink and dropped food from the heavens when they were hungry; actual bread from Heaven.


11. Still, Israel acted with arrogance, pride and rebellion. They even denied that it was God who had delivered them!


12. They made a golden calf of gold and worshipped this idol. It is not unlike the Western world worshipping possessions, position and money.



13. Yet, in His manifold mercies, God forgave them. Amazing! He continued to send His good Spirit to instruct them and guide them.


14. They continued to rebel, even killing the very Prophets God set among them to bring them back to repentance.


15. They inherited homes they did not build, vineyards they did not plant, oliveyards and fruit trees in abundance and everything imaginable that is needed to live a good, fruitful life; still, Israel rebelled.



16. The only time they repented was when they were faced with great trouble and war. Then, after God saved them, again they turned against the Almighty! Inimaginable! Or is it?


How many times has the Spirit of God reminded us of His great blessings upon us? He even sent His Son to die for us. The Children of Israel never had this revelation; this ultimate sacrifice made on their behalf. And still we rebel, do not believe and act as if God has grown hard of hearing.


Yet, and Yet, He is still a God full of mercies and great compassions; this is His character, He never changes. He is the same God that led Israel through their ordeals. He also leads us. That self-same Spirit now resides in us. We do not need a Prophet, we have His Spirit.


Never think that you have sinned past the day of repentance. The callings of God are unchangeable; if you are called, you are sealed.
are sealed according to His promise.


Never refuse to repent when you have sinned; He will not shun you if you are sincere in your sorrow. He moves in with a freshness, satisfaction, and joy like nothing else can. This joy of the Lord is our very strength. Since Christ tore the veil of seperation between the Holy of Holies and the outer courts we can now boldly enter into the very Presence of the Father; and we now have an Advocate sitting on His right hand.



Run to repentance when you have sinned; do not run away, run to! God will make us rejoice and our joy will echo throughout every area of our life, like it echoed through Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah!


How many times has the Spirit of God reminded us of His great blessings upon us? He even sent His Son to die for us. The Children of Israel never had this revelation; this ultimate sacrifice made by God on our behalf. Yet still we rebel, do not believe and act as if God has grown hard of hearing.



Yet, and yet forever, He is and will forever be a God full of mercies and great compassions; ready and eager to forgive. That is His character, He never changes. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked or the corrective punishment of His children. He is the same God that led Israel through their ordeals. He also leads us. That self-same Spirit now resides in us. We do not need a Prophet, we have His Spirit.


Never think that you have sinned past the day of repentance. The callings of God are unchangeable; if you are called, you are sealed.
are sealed according to His promise.


Never refuse to repent when you have sinned; He will not shun you if you are sincere in your sorrow. He moves in with a freshness, satisfaction, and joy like nothing else can. This joy of the Lord is our very strength. Since Christ tore the veil of seperation between the Holy of Holies and the outer courts we can now boldly enter into the very Presence of the Father. We now have an Advocate sitting on His right hand.


Run to repentance when you have sinned; do not run away, run to! God will make us rejoice and our joy will echo throughout every area of our life, like it echoed through Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah!

1 comment:

Randy Peacher said...

But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ (by grace are you saved),


And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
(Ephesians 2:4-6)