When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 I said, “I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 6 let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. 8 Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; 9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.
Explain / Examine
Nehemiah, a Jew, was the cupbearer to the king of Persia, Artaxerxes. When men came through the kingdom, Nehemiah asked about his people and home that he had never seen. He heard of the ruined state it was in. In his heartache and being distraught, he sought the Lord. In his weeping, he reminded God of His words. And took responsibility for the actions of his people. The Jews were scattered from their homeland, but if they turned back to God, He would gather them back. And God’s glory would be on display.
How do I apply this to my life?
How broken am I over the evil in my homeland? I know we are grafted into God’s family and these words about His chosen people, but I can still live and apply the principles as a follower of Christ. Do I take any responsibility for the evil that is happening around us? What part did I play? I may have inadvertently contributed to the normalization of sexual immorality. My porn addiction gave people proof that it was consumed so they would make more. Supply and demand, right? Not that I have the responsibility of the hearts of all men or that I can really take on the state of evil in our nation. But can I admit that we, as a people of “the land of the free” and “home of brave,” are far from God? Absolutely! Can I force anyone to repent and turn back to God? No. Can I confess the sins of the people to God and pray that we would turn to Him? Yes. Does my faith allow me to believe that anything would change? I’m not sure. I know that He can. But what would a great awakening look like today? We are isolated and yet more connected than at any other point in history. We desire acceptance over relationships. We crave our idols more than we crave the one true God. I feel there is a misconception of what an American revival would look like today. I think there is hope for a return to “simpler” days. A return to what people thought a “good” America looked like. I can’t say what I think it would look like, but I don’t think it is that. We can’t even put our phones down at a meal for real conversation. And now we live in an absolute world of fantasy. Computers can literally give you any desire of your heart and let you watch it and even interact with it. Where are we going? What will it take to turn the hearts back to God? Brokenness!
What is my response?
Father, are we broken over our sin? Have we had enough wallowing in the pit of despair? I am a weak man who has weak flesh. I have to decide daily what battle I want to fight. Do I actually fight? Is the battlefield in sight? Do I pray for my brothers in Christ to fight with me? Do I pray for them to will the battle of their mind? I look out in a sea of men and wonder what we all believe. Can we kill the pride that keeps us bound up in sin? Can we put down the bottle that quiets the lies? Can we not look at others with lust in our hearts? Can a group of men be vulnerable enough to know what freedom is really like? For a group of men to find a brotherhood in believers that will walk with them through the messiness of life? Having brothers who stand with you in hard times of losing a family member? Having brothers come to the hospital when your first child is born? God, you are a relational God and created us to be relational beings, and we run and hide from it. Turn our hearts so that through the relationships we build, others can find their acceptance in You! They will find healing and freedom in a relationship with Christ and stop looking to fill that God-sized hole in them with what they think will satisfy them. Father, keep my eyes on You. Help me when I want to fail. Help me when I don’t feel like trying. Help my faith and encourage me to keep going until the end. Amen