God’s grace since the beginning of time amazes me. I know when reading the old testament it can seem full of wrath with a lack of mercy. Yet when reading Nehemiah 9, I see the God of many undeserved chances. He displayed a grace unlike any ever would. Our ancestors disobeyed God over and over, turned their backs on him, even though he set them free and poured upon them abundance. A wicked people. A forgiving God.
You saw the suffering of our ancestors in Egypt; you heard their cry. You sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land. You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to safely direct them. You fed them, brought water from the rock, gave them land. For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.
But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became hardened and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.
But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies. Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies,who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.
For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.
But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.”
Throughout history we continue to see this pattern of God’s relentless grace with an unrepentant people. I think of us and can’t help but think of America. His grace on our country supersedes any other. He has his hand on our nation. Yet, instead of godliness we continue to denounce and dismiss him as Lord. That is until we need prayer for whatever current natural disaster we are facing. Although, he is the loving, forgiving God he also the God of justice. We cannot continue to “kick him out”, live how we please and then expect him to protect us.
What would America look like if every Christian in America took 15 minutes to pray for our nation?
He clearly tells us that, if we will humble ourselves and pray and seek his face and turn from our wicked ways, then he will hear from heaven, and he will forgive our sin and will heal our land. 2 Chronicles 7:14