TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• In their time of distress, they cried out to you, and you heard from heaven. In your abundant compassion you gave them deliverers…
(Nehemiah 9:27b CSB)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• The Israelites of the Old Testament give me whiplash. They start off strong… follow God’s will… then they get complacent… they redirect their devotion to other gods… they get in trouble… they cry out to God who rescues them… they decide to recommit themselves to Him… and then, the cycle repeats itself. Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah 9:27-28 sums it up nicely, “So you handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them. In their time of distress, they cried out to you, and you heard from heaven. In your abundant compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the power of their enemies. But as soon as they had relief, they again did what was evil in your sight. So you abandoned them to the power of their enemies, who dominated them. When they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven and rescued them many times in your compassion” (CSB).
While it’s easy to shake our heads at those Israelites of many yesteryears, not much has changed. It’s not an Israelite issue. It’s a people issue. We profess our faith in Jesus… we start off strong… we get complacent… we redirect our priorities… something goes wrong… and suddenly, we’re crying out to God for help. When I write it like this, it really hurts my heart for God. Even though He doesn’t need us, don’t you think this kind of fickle behavior hurts His feelings? I’m sure it does. And what breaks my heart is how many times I’m guilty of doing it myself.
I don’t know why He puts up with us. The Matthew West song, “The God Who Stays” says it perfectly—“If I were You I would’ve given up on me by now / I would’ve labeled me a lost cause…” the whole thing is proof that God has way more patience than I do. I wouldn’t stay in a relationship with someone who treated me the way we often treat God.
But the keyword in Nehemiah’s prayer is “compassion.” God’s abundant compassion. Compassion that leads to undeserved mercy which leads to amazing grace.
It brings me to tears to think about it. We have rejected Him in so many ways, yet He waits. The expectant Father who longs for us to return to Him so that we can accept His love, compassion, and protection.
This time of isolation doesn’t have to be. We have a Heavenly Father who is waiting, eager to shower us with His loving and abundant compassion and kindness if we will simply let Him. It’s the same compassion that Jesus cried out from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He understands our fickle tendencies and yet, He wants us to choose Him. To trust Him. To abide in Him. To have a relationship with Him.
Wherever you are in the cycle, pray believing in God’s compassionate mercy. Restoration with the Father is only a repentant heart and prayer away.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His compassion. Thank Him that He loves us enough to hear our prayers when we cry out to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust in that compassion and to surrender to the Father so you can experience His loving mercy and grace.
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