They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.
After the reading of God’s Word and the recounting of all of the promises of God, the people praised the Lord for not abandoning them even though time and time again they had been rebellious. Even when the Israelites worshipped idols, the Lord never deserted them. There were consequences for their disobedience and the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years.
But all the time in the desert, God instructed them, provided food and water, and gave them clothes that did not wear out. (9:20-21) God is faithful to us even when we forsake Him, even when we turn to our “idols” of money, pride, or success. There are consequences for us as well when we turn away from the Lord. Our sins separate us from God and keep us from walking in the fullness of the promises of God. The Lord, however, never forsakes us because of His compassion. (v.19) He longs for us to turn back to Him so that we do not have to suffer further consequences.
Nehemiah 9:28 describes what happened to the Israelites when they did evil in God’s sight: Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.
Beloved friend, in what circumstances are you being disobedient to the Lord? He longs for you to turn back to Him. He has seen the devastation and turmoil that you are in, and He will be faithful to restore you when you return to Him.
My soul thirsts for You in this dry and weary land. (Psalm 42:2) I have been wandering in the desert, refusing to listen to what You have been telling me. Forgive me, Lord, for my hard heart, and thank you for receiving me back again.
In Jesus’ name, Amen