Nehemiah 9 Commentary
Chapter 9 recounts the history of God’s people from the patriarch Abraham to Nehemiah’s time. The saint becomes interested in this history because it is the history of the LORD Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is family to us who are born-again. This history, therefore, becomes the saint’s history.
A friend once remarked on his struggles to stay long in prayer. He didn’t just have enough things to say to the LORD. The interesting fact is that the long history we are looking at in this chapter is actually a prayer. But it would be wrong to conclude that everyone reading out their own history is actually praying. Israel is doing more.
Let’s start from the beginning. Extensive and fervent reading of the word of the LORD must precede every worship session. Israel spent one-quarter of the day soaking themselves in God’s word before confessing and worshipping the LORD. And so from the reading of God’s word, we have this long prayer.
The prayer begins with a very familiar statement: “hallowed be thy name”. That’s what comes from reading the word. Without the reading of the word, this prayer would probably start with a ‘give me this day my daily bread’ statement. Without the word, prayer can be hearty and full of words but actually empty of value. Looking at the prayer again, you would think the saints here have been in a classroom with Peter learning the Lord’s prayer.
What do you know about God? Declare it aloud. Let every prayer start this way. But how do you proceed, present your cash requisition form? No. Look at this prayer again. It is all about what God did. The words ‘you’ and its variant ‘your’ appear in just about every sentence. It’s about the faithfulness of the LORD. It’s about the generosity of the LORD.
Sit down and look back at your own life story. Who is the hero? Of course, it’s me. I remember how I passed my exams. I remember how I worked hard and earned a promotion. Or to be more religious, I remember how I prayed and remained faithful and the LORD elevated me. It is this kind of sinful attitude from many of us that make this prayer here even more important. The focus should be on God. God should be the star of every prayer.
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