“You, in Your great compassion, did not forsake them in the wilderness; the pillar of cloud did not leave them by day, to guide them on their way, nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.” -Nehemiah 9:19
I frequently thank the Lord for His compassion. I thank Him for His compassion on me because I am a sinful man. I regularly forget Him in my thinking, in my words and in my actions. Yet He is gracious and compassionate towards me. He has never once left me. I also take comfort in the Scriptures in seeing my sinfulness in the hearts of God’s people. The story of Nehemiah captures the grace and compassion of the Lord so well.
Read the ninth chapter of Nehemiah. God’s people have returned to Jerusalem led by Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of their great city. They have completed the work. As they stand before their completed project, they begin to confess their sins and the sins of their people to God as well as worship the Lord. They confess the following:
– You alone are the Lord. (verse 6)
– You made the heavens and earth. (verse 6)
– You lead us out of Egypt. (verse 9)
– You lead us through the Red Sea. (verse 11)
– You gave us the commandments. (verse 13)
– You provided bread, water and clothes. (verse 15, 21)
– We acted arrogantly and refused to listen. (verse 16)
– We were stubborn. (verse 17)
– We made false gods. (verse 18)
– We became disobedient and rebelled. (verse 26)
– We acted wickedly. (verse 33)
I thank the Lord for His compassion.
“But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; and you did not forsake.” (verse 17)
“Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them, For You are a gracious and compassionate God.” (verse 31)
When we are seemingly far from the Lord, He is near. Let us encourage our brothers to join together as God’s people did and confess our sin before one another and before God. There we will find and experience the great compassion of the Lord.