His Mercy Endures Forever
September 28, 2023
This verse is referring to Israel, but doesn’t it also sound just like you and me? It’s the cycle of sin, repentance, and the grace and deliverance of the Lord. For context, this verse is in the middle of a summary of the entire history of the nation of Israel, from Abraham to Moses to the cycle of judges and kings. It discusses how after hundreds of years of Israel turning away from God to other nations and gods, he gave them over to their enemies, and then once they returned to Him, He gave them another chance, and then they repeated the cycle. At this particular moment, the remnant of Israel had returned from Babylon to rebuild the walls and temple, and Nehemiah and Ezra took them back through the Scriptures as a unified nation, to repent, fast, and celebrate God’s deliverance. It’s a beautiful moment in the history of Israel, as they returned to the Promised Land that had been taken away from their ancestors because of their sin and idolatry. 400 years later the cycle would repeat, as they rejected Jesus, the promised Messiah, who these Jews were praying for expectantly even as they rebuilt the temple of the Lord.
I think one of the biggest takeaways for us as Christians is to remember and rejoice in the lavish grace and mercy of Jesus. The Jews were always in the most danger of turning away from God when they forgot all He had done for them. That is when they were easily swept away by fear, lust, or promises offered by other nations. In this chapter of Nehemiah, their method of returning to God is to recite all that He had ever done for them, to remember together in unity His lavish mercy. So, we can learn from this passage 2 ways to remain faithful to the Lord – remember, and do so in community. When we get caught up in our own temporary circumstances, worrying about the future, we don’t look back at all the Lord has already done despite circumstances. And if we isolate ourselves away from other Christians, we lose that source of encouragement among believers, and are so much more likely to forget and turn away. If you read through the Old Testament, you will see repeatedly where we are admonished to ‘remember the Lord your God, and do not forget…’. This command is to protect us and keep us with the Lord. If you are in a stage right now of having strayed from God, remember Him, and return. Allow Him to deliver you according to His mercy, just like He did over and over again for Israel. His mercy endures forever and is new every morning!
’94 / ’08 San Jose Costa Rica
CoLaborers International Missionary