Daily Word

Time for repentance  |  Nehemiah 9:1-4  (ESV)

1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. 2 And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God. 4 On the stairs of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani; and they cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God. 

Nehemiah 9:1-4  (ESV)

Return to Repentance

Remember from a few days ago, the Jews had gathered to hear the Law read. They responded with mourning. But the leaders told them it was not the time to mourn, but to rejoice.      Now was the time to mourn and confess. “This great, humble gathering of God’s people took place only two days after the end of the joyful celebration of the feast of tabernacles. They had drawn close to God, and now He is drawing them even closer!” (enduringword.com) This was a real spiritual revival.

Method of repentance

This is the form of their corporate repentance. [It is not a “prescription” for personal repentance.] From (planobiblechapel.org):

  • Fasting, wearing sackcloth (cf. 1 Chron. 21:16; Dan. 9:3; John 3:5), and putting dirt on one’s head (cf. 1 Sam. 4:12; 2 Sam. 1:2; Job 2:12) were all traditional accompaniments of mourning.” 
  • “In obedience to God’s Law the people broke off forbidden alliances with non-Jews (cf. Deut. 23:3-8; 2 Cor. 6:14-17). 
  • “They also confessed their ancestors’ sins as well as their own,” Note: Confessing ancestors’ sins didn’t forgive them of their sin (like some faiths believe) it showed their deep connection as a people and, indirectly, to that sin. (cf. Ezek. 33:10-20)
  • “[They] listened to the reading of the Law, and worshiped God (vv. 2-3).” 
  • “Eight Levites led the people in confession and worship (v. 4).”

“Repentance grows as faith grows. Do not make any mistake about it; repentance is not a thing of days and weeks, a temporary penance to be got over as fast as possible! No it is the grace of a lifetime, like faith itself… Repentance is the inseparable companion of faith.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, All of Grace:
Water baptism of repentance

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