How do we respond to God? When God shows himself faithful to us, do we respond with faith in return? The history of God’s people paints a different picture.
In Nehemiah 9, the Levites recount God’s steadfast faithfulness to his chosen people.
In verse 7, we’re reminded that God was with his people from the beginning, since Abraham. We’re reminded of God’s faithfulness to his people when God rescued them from Egypt (verses 9ff). We’re reminded of God’s faithfulness to his people while they wandered in the wilderness (verse 21). And we’re reminded of God’s faithfulness during the period of the judges (verse 27).
Again and again, we’re reminded of God’s faithfulness to his people.
But God’s people didn’t always respond with similar faithfulness towards God.
In verse 16, we’re told of how God’s people had “acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey [God’s] commandments” (cf. verse 29). We’re reminded of how they fashioned a golden calf for themselves (verse 18).
Yet in response to the unfaithfulness of his people, God responded with grace and mercy.
But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
We’re reminded again and again of God’s faithfulness towards his people, and we’re reminded again and again of their own unfaithfulness. The whole history of God’s people is that of a people who do absolutely NOTHING to deserve God’s love and faithfulness, yet he gives it to them at every turn.
Time after time, God is faithful, and then God’s people are unfaithful in response.
But, lest we be too hard on these people who lived centuries ago, let’s remember this. We are those people. We’re the same people.
Here’s what I mean. You and I have done NOTHING to deserve God’s love and faithfulness. The Bible even goes so far as to say that you and I deserve the opposite of his love and faithfulness. We deserve his wrath (cf. Ephesians 2). That’s what we deserve. That’s what we’ve earned.
At most every turn, when God shows himself faithful to us, we rebel against him. We choose our own way instead of his way. In many ways, we live as a stiff-necked people—just like they did.
And what does God do? What does God do in response to our rebellion? What does he do in response to our stiff-necks?
In response to our rebellion, God sent us his Son—his only Son, Jesus Christ. In response to our sin, God sent Jesus to bear the penalty that we owe for our sin. In response to our stiff-necks, God provides a way in which we can be reconciled to him.
We didn’t deserve it. We hadn’t earned it. It was an act of sheer grace. But praise be to God for his never-ending mercies!
Because Jesus bore our sins on the cross and because God raised Jesus from the dead, all who turn from their sins and believe in or trust in Christ, ALL who do that will be saved—all who do that will inherit eternal life.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter how unworthy you think you are. Because where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Rom 5:20).
But you need to trust in Christ Jesus. You need to lay hold of the gift of God through his Son Jesus. If you’ve never done that, you can do it today! You can do it right now. You can call out to God and trust in him today.
For his glory,