1On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. 2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. (Nehemiah 9:1 – 2, New International Version)
Theme: The Local Church
Thank you for taking the time to consider the questions about the local church and prayer yesterday. As always we are truly grateful for the comments.
As we continue with the Discipline of Prayer we will be looking at Nehemiah again just as we did last week while considering Bible Study. Nehemiah presents a great Old Testament example of what can occur in a corporate setting when God is obeyed.
Today’s passage is Nehemiah 9:1 – 2 (presented above). The passage is a subset of a much longer prayer in Nehemiah chapter 9. We know from last week that God worked miraculously during this time for the Children of Israel, and it is no surprise that prayer was a key activity for the assembly. What is striking about the short passage we are considering today is the confessing community. Their confession seems to be much deeper than the generic confessions we often experience in corporate church settings.
- What do you believe are key variables that would have contributed to the public confession by the Children of Israel?
- What lessons can we extract for ourselves and our local churches?
March 15, 2022 at 7:22 am
Variables leading to the corporate confession could have been their collective awareness of a Holy God. Often sin is public and public confession might be the response we lean towards as part of the restoration. Their proximity to each other might have contributed. Living so close to your neighbor might make it hard to sin and hide it. Your neighbor knows what you did and expects you to confess.
For me the lesson is to not be blind to my sins. Not because no one is close enough to see me or know my thoughts, God knows, and deserves my confession. For the local church it might be a behavior within the body that needs to be acknowledged and confessed corporately.
March 15, 2022 at 7:57 am
Key contributing variables? That they were “a body” in situation, in purpose, and even physically (gathered together and separated from all foreigners). Thus they were consciously a body in responsibility, and confessed as such.
Lessons for ourselves and our local churches? True community brings accountability, one to another, hugely valuable to our individual, and then corporate walks. Once again I believe we see the Body at work… caring for the individual, and individuals collectively bonding over and moved by corporate needs.
March 15, 2022 at 8:02 am
One of the key variables is “repentance “and being sincerely confessing our sins . It’s better if you confess your sins and pray with a pastor or one elder at church or to your close friend at church. This would set a good example to the body of Christ, reminding them of our sinfulness and that humility is a key to effective prayer.
I learned a lesson from my experience that when you ask church family, or fellow believers at church to pray for you specifically, it is important to update them or give then a feedback on how the Lord answered your prayer, as you all gather , worship and praise God on worship service. It’s encouraging to belong in the body of Christ, knowing many are praying with you, rejoicing or sharing your grief, struggles or pain . It also makes a difference knowing many of these prayer warriors are of the same faith and filled with the Holy Spirit as you journey the life of being a child of God, saved and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.