C. The Repentance of the people. 9:1-10:31
Two days after the end of the feast of Tabernacles, a time of rejoicing, the Israelites took stock of their situation.
They were ruled by a foreign government.
They were surrounded by hostile nations.
They were subject to trade and taxes at the pleasure of foreign kings.
They were currently rebuilding their city, their houses, and their lives, but they were not ruling over them.
They were not in any way like unto the Nation under King David or Solomon. They were not even a semblance of the nation as it had been under Hezekiah or Josiah.
Their joy turned to sorrow as they realized that their sin and the sin of their fathers had brought them into this condition.
The reading of the Word of God had convicted them of their sin.
The doing of the Word of God had convinced them of God’s blessings.
Now, as we are told in God’s Word –
Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
We are shown the –
1. The Condition of the people. 9:1-3
The individuals of the nation came together again before the Lord and testified of –
a. Their contrition. – Their actions revealed their hearts. 9:1
b. Their confession – took responsibility 9:2
c. Their concern – they desired to hear more of the Word of God. 9:3a
d. Their consolation – they confessed their sin and worshipped God. 9:3b
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This condition led to –
2. The Confession of their sins. 9:4-35
The priests reaffirmed –
a. The goodness of God.
b. The guilt of he people.
3. The Conclusion of the people. 9:36-38 They made a decision based on the Word of God, the works of God, and their present condition.
Nehemiah 9:36-38 Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.
This was a wonderful moment for the people – the right conclusion to draw from the Word and their situation. It is sad for us though, as we have the history and are able to see what they would do in their future. They may have been dedicated to carry out this decision, but we know that most of them did not. This reminds us of their ancestors and the promises they intended to keep –
Exodus 19:7-8 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
Exodus 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.
Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
Deuteronomy 5:27-29 Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it. And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Will we hear the Word of God and do His will accordingly?