Just like…

“In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.”
Nehemiah 9:38 (NIV)

One of the benefits of studying God’s Message over time is that you eventually begin to make connections and see patterns across the Great Story.

In today’s chapter we have the Israelites gathered together. They’ve been defeated and enslaved by the Babylonians for 150 years, but the King has allowed them to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. They return, remember anew the Great Story and renew their commitment to God and His laws. They make a “binding agreement” to be faithful.

Just like when they were gathered in Sinai and Moses gave them the law to begin with…

Just like the multiple times they got rebellious and stiff-necked during their forty-years of wandering and renewed their commitment…

Just like at the dedication of Solomon’s temple…

Just like during the time of King Josiah when the law of Moses was found and read for the first time in a generation because the people had abandoned their faith to pursue pagan religions…

Just like… me and the countless “binding agreements” I’ve made with God at camps and conferences and workshops and worship services through the years, only to prove myself faithless again and again.

One of the themes of the Great Story is the same theme I see in my own spiritual journey. People are people. No matter how hard I try and however many well-intentioned “binding agreements” I make with the Almighty, I always fall short of keeping them. But, that’s the point:

[Jesus] saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)

…if we are faithless, [God] remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)

When in my repetitive, never-ending, cyclical faith-less-ness I finally stop trying to earn my spiritual merit badge, then I finally begin to understand the depths of God’s mercy, grace, and faith-full-ness. That’s when I truly begin to understand the Great Story. That’s when real Spirit-ual growth begins to occur.

One thought on “Just like…”

  1. 20-23
    You gave them your good Spirit
    to teach them to live wisely.
    You never stinted with your manna,
    gave them plenty of water to drink.
    You supported them forty years in that desert;
    they had everything they needed;
    Their clothes didn’t wear out
    and their feet never blistered.

    I, like all of us, am broken. I’m on a journey to wholeness. I don’t know what that completely looks like, but I’m excited to find out. Over the past few months it has become clear to me that I function in a low state of anxiety. I never really feel anxious and have had a hard time identifying what I feel, but my life is driven by doing, by tasks, by thinking/planning out mine and my family’s next few days so that we/I can avoid calamity and failure. I think there are a lot of factors that play into this dating all the way back to my childhood, but again, I’m just beginning this journey, so we will see what surfaces. Out of these experiences though, I have become all too dependent on my own “doing” and have become a human “doing” rather than a human “being”. I love thinking about that. I am committed to re-learning what functioning as a human “being” looks and feels like. The verses above met me right there today. It speaks to God’s provision to His people. My human “doing” ways have made me much too dependent on self, and you know what? It’s exhausting. It makes me unhealthy. I am reminded that God is in control today. He will not let me fall. God, rewrite your story on my heart. Redefine who I am in You.

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