Nehemiah 1:8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
Nehemiah the cupbearer of King Artaxerxes learned a shocking truth that his own people Israel were open to attack from enemies because the wall was broken down (1:2-3). This crisis led to Nehemiah to turn back towards God (1:4), and seek His face in prayer (1:5-10).
A big part of this prayer is confession (1:6-7) but Nehemiah also placed great faith in the fact that God would restore him
In this he illustrates the second major purpose God has for the crisis situations in life
- They break us
- They bring us back to God
Crisis situations have a way of forcing us to stop walking in our own strength, because there is no way that we can take care of the problem ourselves
Thankfully it isn’t just the impossibility of those situations that bring us back to the Lord, but His Mercy and Grace.
Nehemiah reminds God of His promise to Israel in this prayer. He doesn’t do this because God has forgotten it, but to remind himself that the Lord will take us back when we turn to Him. This brought great comfort to Nehemiah in his time of great need, and does the same for us today.
Scripture gives us beautiful pictures of Gods Grace and Mercy for those who repent
- He is the loving Father who forgives and restores the prodigal son
- He is the gracious God who warns Ninevah of coming judgement, and forgives them through Jonah
- He is the who made us alive together in Christ when we were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2)
- He takes the wretched sinful soul (Romans 7:14-24) and through the blood of Christ says there is “no condemnation” (Romans 8:1)
- He breaks down the wall of separation (Old Testament law and relationship of works) to make the Jew and Gentile one in Christ (Ephesians 2:14)
Through all of these passages and more, the mercy of God clearly states “you can come home”
Often the hardest part of dealing with a crisis is coming to the point when we give up trying to fix the problem ourselves, and ask God for help. The funny thing is thats exactly the moment healing can take place.
And that is exactly what God is trying to accomplish through the trials of life. They are His not so gentle reminders of our weakness, and need for God’s help. As we saw earlier this means we desperately pursue the presence of God (1:6) but this also means simply trusting Him.
As the prodigal son came to the end of himself and returned in shame to his father, so the trials of life guide us back to God’s arms. And as the prodigal experienced forgiveness and restoration from his earthly father, we will experience the spiritual restoration of our Heavenly father.
But you have to go home…
Somehow its easier for us to rely on ourselves sometimes acting as if we have it all together instead of confessing to God what we all know….there is no hope apart from Him. It’s easier to sit in the pig slop than swallow our pride, and seek God’s help.
This is why God brings crisis situations into our lives. He knows a small storm won’t force us to leave the pig-pen, only a deluge will send us on the road home.