Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Today’s Scripture Focus: Nehemiah 9:1-3
We are focusing on sin recovery principle number four of 12: “We are submitting to an honest self-inventory as the Holy Spirit makes us more aware.”
Whenever the Lord honors us with the privilege of seeing ourselves as we are it is a blessing. As we have said multiple times recently, submission to God’s will is essential in these situations. Simply being able to identify and confess where we have strayed is not sufficient. Simply being sad when we have disappointed ourselves, and God, is not enough. What we need is a change of heart and lifestyle, and only God can effect such lasting change in us.
I find it more than a little interesting that in the eighth chapter of the book of Numbers, the people welcomed the reading and teaching of the Word in their lives. They not only welcomed it, but they were also saddened by how short they had fallen of God’s ideal. Their contriteness was an indicator of whose spirit was at work. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to experience godly sorrow for sin. And as the people displayed a contrite response to truth, God rewarded them with a message of hope and rejoicing. The leaders encouraged the people to rejoice because they had heard and understood the Word of God. They were to celebrate because the joy of the Lord was their strength. God never leaves us in despair when we encounter the reality of our need to change. Their celebration was to culminate in a festival that certainly had immediate relevance, but more than that, directed the people’s minds to the fact that Jesus is presently preparing a place for each of His children, and one day He will return to receive us unto Himself so we can be together forever.
If I had to cite one takeaway from today’s reading it would be related to how patient the people were, humbling themselves before the Word as they confessed their sins and sincerely worshiped God. They seemed to have no concept of the passing of time (they stood in God’s presence for quite some time). Lingering in God’s presence to learn more about what He expects from us and to receive power from Him is essential to recovering from sin addiction.
Try to incorporate time into your busy schedule; a time of reflection, honest confession, and lingering in worship, looking forward to the day we will finally begin living in God’s presence forever.