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Acknowledge God's Nature, Promises and Acts - Part 6: The God of Justice.

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | December 21, 2023 | Nehemiah 9:26-30



KEY VERSE:

²⁶“But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. ²⁷ So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who oppressed them Nehemiah 9:26-27a (NIV) 

 

MESSAGE:

In Nehemiah 9:26-30, we are confronted with a sobering reality: The God of justice who is just and will reward or discipline according to His righteousness. The Israelites experienced the justice of God firsthand when their continual rebellion led to suffering and hardship. This is not about a vengeful God punishing His people. It is about the justice of God. God's justice refers to His commitment to righteousness, fairness, and the moral order of the universe. It involves the application of divine laws and standards to ensure equity in judgment and consequences for actions. God's justice and mercy are not in conflict; rather, they work in harmony. His justice upholds righteousness, while His mercy offers a way for forgiveness and redemption. The concept of atonement is a key link between justice and mercy. Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God's justice is satisfied, and His mercy is extended to humanity (Rom. 3:25-26). So, the suffering and hardship of the Israelites was the natural outcome of straying from God’s protective and perfect will. When we opt for our path instead of God's path, we venture outside the security of His guidance.

 

This lesson urges us to follow God's commands, not driven by fear of punishment but by acknowledging His wisdom and love. Disobedience frequently leads to unnecessary pain and trouble, which we can avoid by adhering to God's ways. It’s like a parent warning a child not to touch a hot stove; the instruction is not to restrict the child but to protect them. But there’s also hope in this lesson. Even when the Israelites experienced the consequences of their disobedience, God did not forsake them. Upon their cry to Him, He rescued them, illustrating that even when we face the repercussions of our choices, God is ever prepared to restore and redeem. Let’s strive to live obediently, but when we falter, let’s remember that God’s grace is sufficient to bring us back to Him.


FEET AND HANDS FOR THE MESSAGE:

How would you balance the justice of God with His mercy? God's justice demands accountability for sin, but His mercy invites repentance and offers the opportunity for redemption. Understanding God's justice motivates believers to live righteously, recognizing that God is just and will reward or discipline according to His righteousness.

 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank you for being the just God, upholding what is right and true. Grant me the wisdom to align my life with your righteous standards and to trust in your perfect judgment. May your justice inspire me to pursue justice in my interactions with others, promoting righteousness and standing against injustice in the world. Thank you, In Jesus' name, I pray.


THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSINGS.

SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!!

 

DAILY word study: TURNED THEIR BACKS The phrase "turned their backs" in Nehemiah 9:26 is translated from the Hebrew words "וַיִּתְנַטְּלוּ עֹרְפָּם" (vayitnattelu or'pam). Here, "וַיִּתְנַטְּלוּ" (vayitnattelu) means turned away or turned their backs, and "עֹרְפָּם" (or'pam) refers to their backs.


The phrase "turned their backs" often appears in the Bible to denote a symbolic or literal act of rejection, rebellion, or apostasy. Nehemiah 9:26 reflects the Israelites' disobedience and turning away from God's commandments during their history.


Biblical Examples:

  1. Jeremiah 2:27 (NIV): "They say to wood, 'You are my father,' and to stone, 'You gave me birth.' They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!'"

  2. 2 Chronicles 29:6 (NIV): "Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him."

  3. Jeremiah 32:33 (NIV): "They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline."


The phrase "turned their backs" serves as a poignant reminder of the human tendency to turn away from God in times of disobedience or spiritual neglect. It invites us to reflect on our faith journey, acknowledging moments of waywardness, and seeking reconciliation with God.


Reflective Question:

As we contemplate the biblical examples, let us be prompted to turn our faces back to God, seeking His forgiveness and guidance. The grace of God, exemplified in numerous instances of reconciliation in the Bible, encourages us to turn back to Him with a repentant heart. Consider moments in your life when you may have metaphorically "turned your back" on God's guidance or teachings. How did this impact your spiritual journey, and what lessons can be drawn from those experiences?


May this reflection lead us to a renewed commitment to face God, embrace His teachings, and walk in obedience, knowing that His steadfast love and forgiveness are ever-present for those who sincerely seek Him.


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