Explore the Bible
February 15, 2014
One of my wife’s favorite TV shows features a woman who restores 100-year-old houses, fallen into disrepair, to their original splendor. Throughout the decades, layers of wallpaper, rolls of floor coverings and lowered ceilings were added according to the style of the time and the personal taste of the homeowners. But after all of these superfluous additions are stripped away, the original grandeur of the house is able to be enjoyed once again.
God is also in the restoration business. He can take a person or a nation and restore them. After years, or even generations, of sin, God can forgive and restore the relationship between Him and His people.
The nation of Israel’s history included many cycles of sin. God would deliver the nation, they would sin, God would punish them, the nation would repent and God would delivered them once again. In Nehemiah 9:32-37, the Levites are concluding a long prayer of repentance as they led the people to return to the restoring God. The Levites’ acknowledgement of God’s greatness, might and awesomeness (Neh. 9:32), as well as God’s faithfulness and righteousness (Neh. 9:33), was not their way of gaining God’s favor; it was a recognition of God’s character. This is a first step in returning to God – acknowledging who He is.
When we recognize the qualities and attributes of God, this automatically leads to the second step: the realization of who we are and what we have done. When we bask in the light of God’s qualities, it exposes those dark recesses of sin. Although the Levites confessed the sins of their ancestors by admitting that “they did not pay attention to your commands” (Neh. 9:34), they also included themselves and their generation by stating “we acted wickedly” (Neh. 9:33).
How is your relationship with God? Does it need to be restored to its original glory? Remember, the New Testament promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).