Nehemiah 9:27-31: “Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies, Who oppressed them;
And in the time of their trouble, when they cried to You, You heard from heaven;
And according to Your abundant mercies, You gave them deliverers who saved them, from the hand of their enemies.
28 But after they had rest, they again did evil before You. Therefore You left them in the hand of their enemies, So that they had dominion over them;
29 And testified against them, that You might bring them back to Your law.
And they shrugged their shoulders, stiffened their necks, and would not hear.
31 Nevertheless in Your great mercy
I was reading through the book of Nehemiah the other day, and as I was reading, I came across that passage, and it blew me away.
You’ll see why, in just a minute.
The children of Israel seem to have this pattern; They’ll have this period of a ‘spiritual high’, and everything is just splendid. Then they’ll begin to go into sin, rebellion. God will then allow their enemies to oppress them.
Then, when things are really bad, when they can’t take the oppression, the torture anymore, they quickly come running back to God, crying out for mercy.
So God, in His incomprehensible patience and mercy, gives them rest and peace. What do you think happens after that?
Yep, you guessed it. They quickly forget Him. Again. And again.
Sound familiar? I think it does.
Its really easy, when things are going well, to forget about where and how God has led, has helped us in the past. Its really easy to think that faith is only for the weak. Its only for when we really need help. When we can’t do it on our own.
But is it?
Psalms 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.”
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve heard verses like the one above, read many times.
Every time, I’m encouraged!
But I’m wondering. How often when dark clouds begin to gather on the horizon, do we actually turn to Him for refuge through the storm? Or do we only turn to Him as a last resort. When the storm got too rough. Too much, to sit it out ourselves.
How low do you have to go, before your knees finally hit the floor? What do you think you’re saving Jesus for?
Yeah, really. What do you think you’re saving Jesus for?
He is our Rock, our Refuge, a very present help in trouble. And yet its so easy to just try and hold out on our own, and forget, or dare I say, willingly forget to call on Him.
That brings me back to the Israelites. They’d seen the dead sea parted. They’d seen the miracles of Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha. They’d heard all about it. Yet, they chose to follow their own path. Their own way. They’d save Him for later.
Back in that passage from Nehemiah, we hear this: “They (the Israelites) shrugged their shoulders, stiffened their necks, and would not hear.”
They shrugged their shoulders. Its metaphorical for saying that God would put His hand on their shoulders, like the all-loving Father He is, to try and bring them back, turn them away from their own paths. He was saying, hey you don’t have to do it on your own. But they shook Him off. Many times.
Something to really think about. The patience of God is unthinkable.
Lets not forget, how God has lead and helped us, in the past. No matter the situation, whether it seems easy, something we think we can do on our own. Whether it is a hurricane, with the darkest clouds coming your way.
Good times or bad.
It doesn’t matter. God is our very present refuge and help. All the time.
Let’s not save Him for later. Later may be too late.
“How long will this keep going on,‘til you break and just can’t take it anymore?
How low do you have to go, before your knees finally hit the floor?
What do you think, you’re saving Jesus for?”