A friend of mine said they thought reading the Old Testament was going to be daunting… I thought that too, but then I simply started to start through it. No time frame, but a hunger of needing to know what I didn’t know… God has given me the time to learn.
It’s the names that get tough, but the MESSAGE in it was clear ONCE I realized Who was telling this story… GOD!!! The Word… and the Messenger made sense to me because HE WANTS US TO UNDERSTAND.
This Messenger of the Word is a true-tales storyteller thru the experiences of His faithful servants, even if they also were flawed as people. If anything, they themselves could tell you when they drifted from God and what the consequences were… like David… No matter his messups, David kept humbly returning to God for help.
In the Old Testament’s Word, we see Jesus’s earthly roots that are laid bare for us to see. We can trace a root to the fruit or lack thereof. The Word is telling stories of full faithfulness, of sometimes fading faith, and sadly of fully flawed faith… This IS full Truth: Humans are fallable, GOD IS Divine. God forgives and gathers.
So importantly the Old and New Testaments are: of God by God for God, we hear the Promises directly from God and then learn how they got fulfilled. We learn that we can ALSO return when we go astray.
What a GIFT, every once in a while reading along, that there’s a WHOLE RECAP! The story from the beginning is condensed into a mini taproots into the truth version (ch 9-12)… Nehemiah explains to listeners and readers (both those of his time AND us now) the stretch from making the Heavens to present times… Nehemiah speaks of God’s covenant with Abraham then God’s help in Moses’s leadership of the people out of Egypt… the wandering and wondering… the stiff-necked people and His Forgiveness… Nehemiah speaks of God’s warning about turning one’s back to God’s law (which happens time after time)… and we see God’s warnings come true that choosing an earthly king over God will just be trouble – and whole kingdoms will be turned over to enemies… Nehemiah acknowledged that this generation of people were slaves in their own God-given land and potentially could drift again. God had been gracious to restore them again and again. (The ultimate restart comes when Jesus arrives and the ultimate restoration will be when Jesus comes again.)
Nehemiah witnessed this repromise of people to follow (Nehemiah was governor of the land and wall rebuilding for a time) and he recorded a re-pledge to the covenant with God. New dedication and re-centering their lives to God. They built the city back and brought people back in… They dedicated themselves to His service and sacrifices required to atone for human flaws against God’s Laws. Yes, Time after Time, God forgives and recollects His fold.
There’s a lot of names again here in this section of the Old Testament, but surely God wanted them included, He likes to hear them… just like He loves to hear praises.
Time after time, people will go astray again – but “on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy.”
Let us remember, Time after Time, GOD FORGIVES and GIVES US GREAT JOY.
We can approach God because He is already reaching to us. We can trace His fruit back to His roots in our past. We can bloom again.