Have you ever been tempted to remember something a bit differently than it happened? I may be the only one, but I tend to remember my sin as not so bad and to spin what I did (or didn’t do) to make myself look better or feel better. The problem is that it’s not honest, and if we are going to be in right relationship with God, we must be honest with ourselves, with the Lord, and with the people around us.
Nehemiah 9 shows us what radical honesty looks like in our prayer lives. First, the prayer in verses 5–31 is radically honest about who God is. The prayer draws heavily on Scripture to describe God’s attributes and work in the world. Only the Lord is God, and He created everything. He called Abraham out of his country and established a relationship with him. He heard the Israelites’ cries in Egypt and rescued them. He fed them spiritually with the Torah— “regulations and laws that are just and right” (v. 13)—and physically with food from heaven and water from a rock, and later He gave them land and great abundance. God is and has always been good.
Second, this prayer is radically honest about who the Israelites are. They rejected God repeatedly. They wanted to return to slavery in Egypt, and they cast an idol while Moses was on Mt. Sinai. They rejected God’s word and His prophets, continually turning away from the God who saved them. The contrast between God and His people is stark.
The honesty shown here is key to a restored relationship between God and His people. We must tell the truth about God and about ourselves, and we must remember rightly our sins and His great goodness. Anything less simply will not do.
>> Take time today to get honest about who God is and who you are. What would it look like if we took this radically honest approach to prayer?
“When they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time” (Neh. 9:28). Today we frankly confess our doubts, fears, and failures, confident in Your tireless mercy.