Nehemiah 9:6 – “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you…”
In Nehemiah 9, there is a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit in response to the preaching of the Word of God and devoted prayer of godly leaders. Convicted of their sin against a good God, the people repent of their sin, turn from their dead religion, and experience a dynamic revival. Curiously, repentance includes both turning from their own sins as well as the sins of previous generations of their families. In this, God’s people teach us twin truths neglected in our current culture.
First, we are not merely individuals but also members of families which have shaped us for better and worse. Second, rather than denying the sin in our families, or using that sin as an excuse for our own sin, God in His kindness welcomes us to repent of personal and family sin. In reading this repentant prayer, the words “you” in reference to God, and “they” in reference to sinful people, highlight the goodness of God and wickedness of people.
This prayer was preceded by a sermon that lasted upwards of six hours from Ezra, followed up by Bible training for men, and concluded with Bible studies that lasted upwards of three hours.
As a result of reading Scripture, God’s people are compelled to pray. These twin disciplines of Scripture and prayer are how God speaks to us and how we speak to God. The prayer, which many consider to be the longest in the Old Testament, is a summary events from creation to Abraham and Moses in the first five books of the Old Testament (Pentateuch) that they had been studying for many days.
What role did sound Bible teaching and prayer play in this revival in Nehemiah 9? How are you doing at learning God’s Word and how is your life of prayer?