We are in great distress.
Nehemiah 9:37b NIV
Have you ever been in great distress? Maybe that is where you find yourself right now. Broke. Sick. Afraid. Ashamed. Confused. Alone. Perhaps your problems are self-created. Maybe you are concerned about someone you love. Your child. Your husband. Your wife. Your aging parent. A beloved friend. But, whatever the reason, you are in distress!
That is where the Israelites were in the Book of Nehemiah. Once again, they were reaping the consequences of their disobedience to God. Their city was broken, their community was broken and they were broken. But one man, Nehemiah, became so heartbroken over Jerusalem and the Jews that he determined to make a difference despite every difficulty.
Nehemiah was a man of prayer. He prayed earnestly for God’s help in repairing the walls of Jerusalem and got much more than he asked for. By chapter nine, the Book of the Law had been read to the people and we find them gathered together in sackcloth and ashes of repentance and humility.
They are confessing their sin to one another and remembering the greatness of Jehovah, The Almighty, the Ancient of Days. By the end of this chapter, they acknowledge their condition to God:
“But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our
forefathers so they could eat its fruit and the other good things
it produces. Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the
kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our
cattle as they please. We are in great distress.” (v 36-37)
As I jotted down notes from this chapter, I found an outline of encouragement to help me walk confidently through times of distress. I hope it is an encouragement to you:
1. Separate yourself from the world
2. Confess your sin
3. Read God’s Word
4. Worship the LORD
5. Praise the LORD
6. Remember what the LORD has done for you
7. Remember God is:
8. Confess Your Distress
PS: Read chapter ten to see what happens next!
© Joyce Powell