Quiet Time Coaching Episode 490 | New Thing Series — Part 45 | “Nehemiah’s Lament – Part 3” | Malcolm Cox

A new thing! I’m Malcolm Cox. Welcome to your daily devotional podcast anchored in Isaiah 43:19: ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’

We are currently looking at God doing a new thing in the life of Nehemiah. Today we explore Nehemiah’s lament. After hearing the terrible news about Judah and Jerusalem, Nehemiah responds with a prayer of lament.

“I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments; let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned. We have offended you deeply, failing to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances that you commanded your servant Moses.” (Nehemiah 1:5-7 NRSV)

In the previous two podcasts we talked about the background to lament and the importance of praise accompanying lament. Today we see Nehemiah moving on to confessing sin as part of his lament.

Nehemiah’s Lament

  • His appeals to God to hear and see his prayer is offered with great intensity (‘day and night’) on behalf of himself and God’s people
  • He identifies with the sins of his people, even though he was not in Judah
  • He takes personal responsibility for his sin, and the sin of his family
  • He acknowledges that God has been hurt by his and Israel’s behaviour
  • He recognises that they have failed in their responsibilities to keep God’s commands

For Reflection
An impressive component of Nehemiah’s prayer is that he is not pointing the finger at the sins of other people. It is as if he is willing to absorb the sins of other people into himself. He is acting as an intercessor for the people before God, asking God to forgive the sins of Israel and of his own family.

In one of the great messianic passages we are told:

“For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12 NIV11)

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34 NIV11)

What a comfort it is to know that Jesus continues to intercede for us! As such, can we not imitate him by interceding for others? Why not take some time today to bring someone before God and intercede for them to him in prayer?

I hope you find your heart, your life, your congregation and your world inspired by God doing a new thing. Until tomorrow, take care, and God bless.

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“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License