As I was studying for Sunday morning’s sermon I came across this great verse and I want to share it with you in the middle of the week. The verse is found in Nehemiah 9:17.
Nehemiah 9:17 (ESV)
17They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.
The ‘they’ in the verse are the Israelites who did not want to go into the Promised Land. Instead, they decided they wanted to return to the bondage of living in Egypt. In the verse, I want you will notice that Nehemiah states they stiffened or hardened their neck—this refers to their steadfastness in their commitment to return to Egypt. In fact, they went so far as to appoint a leader to take them back into bondage. But Nehemiah says the LORD is ready to forgive. Then he goes on to articulate God’s attributes. God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. And He does not forsake his people.
Let me ask you: Could there be a greater list? He is forgiving, gracious, merciful, slow to anger, rock solid in his love for His people and faithful to keep his promises!
What an example he is to me! In fact it is the gospel that flows out of these attributes. And since it is that gospel that saves me from hell I must be motivated to apply and live out these attributes with others. Don’t you think?