The service will also
How long should a church service last? An hour, or is there scope for something of greater length? On this occasion the people of Nehemiah’s day gathered for a six hour service/prayer meeting split into two parts, 3 hours of Scripture reading and 3hours of prayer and praise! A nice balance you might say of God addressing his people, and of his people responding to what they had heard.
This time around the atmosphere is somewhat different to the previous gathering. Feasting has been replaced by fasting; joy and celebration by the donning of sackcloth and ashes; as the people confessed their sin and agreed to separate themselves from the surrounding nations, as well as acknowledging the sins of their fathers. Such a national prayer teaches us some really important truths about God that should enlarge our vision of him:-
1 – The Greatness of God (v 5 – 6.)
The Levites exhorted the people to – “stand up and praise the Lord” and to join their worship with – “the multitudes of heaven.” To aid them in their praise the people are furnished with some reasons as to why God is so great. He is:-
A – The Personal God – He is – “the Lord YOUR God.”
B – The Eternal God – He is – “From EVERLASTING to everlasting.”
C – The Only God – For – “you ALONE are the Lord”
D – The Creator God – For – “You MADE the heavens.”
2 – The Graciousness of God (v 7 – 31.)
In the history lesson that follows three reasons are offered as proof of the gracious dealings of God with his people:-
A – God Creating his people (v 7 – 8) – God chose and revealed himself to Abram; who by faith and obedience became the Father of the nation of Israel (Genesis 12 v 2 – 3.)
B – God Caring for his people (v 9 – 25) – God delivered his people from bondage in Egypt and granted them his presence (Exodus 13 & 14); provided for their needs during their wilderness wanderings (Exodus 16 & 17); gave then commandments to live by (Exodus 19 & 20); and eventually led them into the Promised Land (Joshua 3.)
C – God Chastening his people (v 26 – 28) – The people continually turned their backs on the Lord and so he disciplined them using the surrounding nations; only for them to return to him and reject him again (Judges 6.)
3 – The Grace of God (v 29 – 37.)
Although his people broke the covenant, God kept his part of the bargain. He sent them prophets, but they refused to listen (2 Chronicles 36 v 15 – 21); he was patient and long suffering when they rebelled; in mercy he didn’t give them what they deserved; while in grace he gave them what they didn’t deserve. Now was the time for a new beginning as they yielded themselves unto the Lord.
Challenge – Is your God too small? Do you need to expand your vision to embrace the Greatness, Graciousness and Grace of God?
Theme: “How small or how great is your God?”
Reading: Nehemiah 9
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes