Nehemiah 9:16-17 – But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their necks and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their necks and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.
THEME OF THE DAY: GOD IS READY. ARE WE? Today’s scripture shows the stark contrast between sinful humanity and the glorious nature of our God. On one hand, we see all of humanity, including ourselves, rebellious to God and His Word, forgetful of His works of love and grace, hardened to the point of indifference to such a God, and relying more on human solutions to problems instead of divine. Few scriptures will show us with greater depth the sinful nature of man. In contrast, we see God and oh, what a God we see! He is forgiving, gracious, merciful, patient, and overflowing with love to us. In addition to His wonderful character, we view a display of His act of being faithful to His people by never forsaking them. Despite their forgetfulness and rebellion, He remains true to His covenant and promise not to leave or forsake His own. But there is something else to observe and will unfold the theme of today’s nugget. Notice the words appearing before the list of character traits of our God – “But you are a God ready” . . . think about those words for a moment. Ponder the eagerness, the readiness, even the joyful anticipation in God to be forgiving, gracious, merciful, patient, and display His love to His people. He is ready to do all things and be all those things to us. The question is, “Are we ready?” Let’s use that question, comparing us with the readiness of God, in two directions.
First, God is ready to be forgiving, gracious, merciful, patient, loving and faithful to a people who deserve none of these displays of His love and grace. Are we equally as ready to do the same to people who sin against us, hurt us, slander us, ignore us, avoid us, and mistreat us in harmful ways? We will know quickly just how much we are becoming like Jesus by the way we react to those who do us harm and sin against us. Whether it is the contexts of a tense work relationship, a strained family relationship, or in disagreements turned to arguments, bitterness, and critical judgments among brothers and sisters in the Lord, how we respond will tell us the depth and intimacy we currently have with the Lord Jesus. God is ready to show mercy, grace, forgiveness and love to His rebellious creatures who hurt Him through their willful sin and forgetfulness. And as Christ’s disciples, we are commanded to do likewise to people. Is it hard? Absolutely, but remember, God never gives a command without also giving the strength to obey the command.
Next, God is ready to be forgiving, gracious, merciful, patient, loving and faithful to us in the avenue of daily communion and fellowship with Him in His Word and prayer. Are we ready and eager to allow Him to be such a God to us by ensuring daily time with Him is never sacrificed on the altars of worldliness and busyness? We get a really good assessment of our spiritual closeness to Jesus by our readiness, eagerness, and determination to spend daily time with Him in His Word and prayer. Christians who neglect their Bibles and prayer are not neglecting a book or a time of lifting up their wants to heaven in prayer. No, here is the reality in Christians who are not consistently in their Bibles and prayer. They are telling God, “I really don’t want to take time to be with You to know and experience You.” God stands ready to reveal Himself to us. The question now is asked of us, “Are we ready to make ourselves available to know this God who is just waiting on us to show a readiness to meet Him and that through His Word and prayer?”
PRAYER: “Father, help me to treat people the way You treat me – forgiving, gracious, merciful, with patience and overflowing love.”
QUOTE: “Lord, as You are eager and ready to meet with me, grant that I might respond with eagerness too”.