July 12, 2021 – Monday
Nehemiah 9:16-18 NIV
16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey Your commands.
17 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,
18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies.
Today’s verses of the day are a result of Saturday’s Men’s Bible Study when we covered chapter nine of Nehemiah from verse 9 through the end at verse 38. What was brought home by Pastor Frenchie L’Heureux that often times people think the Old Testament represents a God different from the one in the New Testament. In fact, in the second century AD a Christian writer, Marcion of Sinope (85-160AD), wrote and believed the God of the Old Testament was not God the Father described in the New Testament. Marcion’s odd/weird beliefs did not end there as he believed Paul was the only true apostle of Jesus.
The question I want to address here is, “Was Yahwah of the Old Testament the same as the Yahwah of the New Testament?” My answer is unequivocally, “Yes, He is!” I can state that simply from the proof in Nehemiah 9. Our verses of the day above are my first example from this chapter.
Earlier in this same chapter, Nehemiah wrote, 9 “You saw the suffering of our ancestors in Egypt; You heard their cry at the Red Sea. 10 You sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for You knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for Yourself, which remains to this day. 11 You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but You hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. 12 By day You led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take. These verses, 9-12, provide numerous examples of His love and kindness towards His people. He heard the cry of His people. You divided the Red Sea so Your people could escape while drowning their pursuers. Then You, Yahweh, led Your people. This is a loving and caring God.
Then for the long travels ahead of them, 15 In their hunger You gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst You brought them water from the rock; You told them to go in and take possession of the land You had sworn with uplifted hand to give them. But they did not, they rebelled, thinking they knew better than You. That’s when we come to our verses for today. And that is when He sent them wondering in the wilderness for forty years.
Sounds like a great punishment does it not? Was it though? Nehemiah did not think so for he wrote, 19 “Because of Your great compassion You did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. 20 You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold Your manna from their mouths, and You gave them water for their thirst. 21 For forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen. God’s great compassion was there throughout the 40 years of wondering. He stayed with them! They never went without water or food. Their clothes did not wear out (a miracle in and of itself) nor were their feet ever injured or swollen. Those who died where not put to death but died of old age.
Bottom Line: Go to Nehemiah 9 and read all the way through and look at what God did after each rebellion of His people through arrogance, pride, and having stiff-necks. As verse 31 tells us, In Your great mercy You did not put an end to them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and merciful God. That is, He is the same Yahweh in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament. Our eyes only have to be open to see it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You being the same God in the Old Testament as in the New. Because of Your great mercy You gave us Jesus who paid the price of our sins. You are an incredibly loving God. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.