“You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them. “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck 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 neck 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. Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.”
I just can’t seem to get away from these Scriptures in Nehemiah chapter nine! There is so much powerful truth and gold found here about who God is and also as we see in these verses, who we are as people.
Nehemiah is describing and kind of telling a story of what God has done amongst the people of Israel, he is looking back on these truths as a reminder to the people. Looking first we see God’s provision, how when the Israelites had nothing, God gave them their every need. They didn’t have food while traveling through the wilderness and God sent down bread from Heaven. They didn’t have water and God provided for them water out of a rock. I know that sounds crazy right? Practically impossible? But that’s God and that’s the way He provides for His people.
There is nothing more encouraging to see that this same God who provides in these wild ways for the Israelites is the the same God who provides for us today. I know personally I face so many moments where I feel inadequate, like I don’t have enough, and looking at my circumstances surrounding me they feel impossible. But each day, no matter how bad things get, no matter how impossible things look, God provides. God always makes a way, even if it’s not the way we expected or the way we want, God gives us everything we need!!! And we can rest secure in that truth no matter what situation we face in life!
Then looking on to the next part of the verses, we get this picture of who we are. Despite the fact God provides and gives us everything we need, just like the Israelites we can easily overlook Gods powerful presence in our lives. The Israelites were faced daily with Gods miracle like provision and awesome works but they still “stiffened their necks.” They still would have rather went back to Egypt and live out their lives in the slavery that God had taken them out of. I relate so much with this I guess mainly because just as the Israelites were human, so am I, and so are you. We can be so quick to stiffen our necks towards God even when He has laid out a path of provision to keep walking forward towards the freedom He has promised us. I would say that the main reason I still seek to turn back to my ways and go back to what’s comfortable to me, what I’m used to in slavery is because walking through the wilderness on the adventure God gives us is extremely uncomfortable. During those seasons in the wilderness where God is breaking us down, allowing us to be in situations of great need, those moments are set up divinely for us to have nowhere else to go but to depend fully on God. What’s crazy as humans is that even though we’ve seen what God has done, we see God blessing us and providing for us right in front of our very eyes, we still would rather go back to the places that make us comfortable even if that is a place of slavery, a place of being controlled by addictions, strongholds. It makes no sense why we would do this but in our sinful human nature it’s what we tend to do.
What’s beautiful about God and having a relationship with Him is that despite our shortcomings, our lack of belief and our desires for comfort, He stays right there by our side. No matter how bad we mess things up, or choose to be disobedient by going backwards into the ways He’s already taken us out of, God is forgiving! God continues to love us more and more, it blows my mind how God could love me after all the times I have seen the path He is pointing me down but I remain disobedient because I’m scared of the change and pain that may come in that wilderness experience. God still loves me even when I turn away from Him and His awesome provision to chase my wants, my plans and my desires. It makes no sense why we do the things we do but what’s even crazier is how God loves us anyways!
God continues to sustain us and give us everything we could ever need even when we go after our human instincts of comfort, God never leaves us. Even though sometimes in our crazy situations and in the pull we feel from our flesh to go back to what makes us feel good, God continues to stay right by our side through it all. He continues to lead us on the path of His ways, in the path that leads to the fullness of life that He has given us. Nobody ever said that path is easy, actually sometimes it seems pretty impossible, but just as Nehemiah was reminding the Israelites, I’m here to remind you and myself today that God has and will provide for your every need!!! God will pave a clear path for you and guide you along the way, God will be there for you through it all!!! So don’t turn back, don’t listen to the lies that “slavery” sounds better, for the pain you are enduring right now on this uncomfortable road is leading to the land of freedom and the fullness of life with God!!!! I pray this reminder will be of huge encouragement for you today! This lesson has personally rocked my world and I just ask you pray for me also to keep moving forward and never forget the God we have by our side!!!