Arise, bless the LORD your God forever and ever! O may Thy glorious name be blessed and
exalted above all blessing and praise! Thou alone art the LORD. Thou hast made the heavens, the
heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in
them. Thou dost give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before Thee
(Nehemiah 9:5-6 NAS)
Nehemiah 9 is a miniature overview of the Old Testament redemptive history. It is one of the best
pictures of how to view God in relationship to His people in the Old Testament. Often people think the
God of the Old Testament is almost a different God from the New Testament. He is viewed as a mean,
judgmental God who is punishing His people constantly. But this section of Scriptures (Neh. 9:5-38) gives
profound insight into God’s character and actions towards His people. It gives us a perspective of God
from His vantage point not just from the crucible of the human condition.
This text gives us a theological overview of Israel’s deliverance, their wilderness journey, possession of
the Promised Land, and the consequence of their sin and often a very different view of God and his
dealings with His people. We gain insight into the scope of His forgiveness, His compassion and grace,
His patience and generosity. He is described as slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness (v. 17,
31, and 32). In addition to all this we see how active the Holy Spirit was in the life of God’s people in the
Old Testament (v. 20, 30). Nehemiah 9 begins with the gathering of God’s people to seek the Lord,
confess their sins and worship God.
I find it very intriguing that the very beginning of their confession begins with understanding God. His
people acknowledge and recognize God for who He is. But what is most intriguing is all this is stated in
the context of God’s people turning from their ways to conform to God’s expectations and ways of doing
life with Him.
Notice the following: The Lord alone is God (6); He is the only one to be blessed forever (5); He is to be
exalted and praised (5); He made the heavens and all that it contains; He made the earth all everything
that is on it; even the seas are his handiwork (6). Confession is “agreeing with God about my sin”.
Nehemiah talks about God’s people being arrogant (10, 16) they refused to listen (17), they created their
own idols (18), they became disobedient and rebelled against God (26). They did evil and God dealt with
In today’s world we want God to cater to our ideas and expectations. We want him to be kind the way
we want him to be kind. We want His love but we are not as eager to embrace His righteousness.
God has not changed but maybe we have.
Pastor Brad Little