Confessing Wrongdoing

KEY VERSE: “Thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou host done right, but we have done wickedly.” —Nehemiah 9:33

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Nehemiah 9:1-3, 32-37

THIS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF God’s justice on their behalf was made by the nation of Israel after Nehemiah and Ezra had pointed out that God had made them a subject nation as punishment for their wickedness against his Law.

The basic principles of God’s Law are unchangeable, even as he changes not. Moses said to the generation of Israelites living in his day, “What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear [reverence] the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”—Deut. 10:12

Hundreds of years later Solomon wrote, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccles. 12: 13) Still later, it was written, “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”—Mic. 6:8

The tendency of fallen humanity frequently has been to complicate the simple message of divine truth, to make mysteries out of those revelations of the divine plan and will, to which no mystery by right should be attached. The plain teachings of the Word of God are often confused by human philosophy, misnamed theology.

As Moses said to Israel, all the Lord wanted of them was their reverence, obedience, and love. And even their love for God, as manifested in their obedience to his commandments, was for their own good. God had loved their fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and had made wonderful promises to them. Moses further explained, “He chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.”—Deut. 10:15

God was just in his dealings with the Israelites, and cared for the fatherless and the widows, and loved even the stranger in their midst, “giving him food and raiment.” (vs. 18) The Lord set a wonderful example, and wanted them to follow it. If they were faithful, a rich reward was in store for the nation, for they would be made a kingdom of priests.—Exod. 19:5,6

The standards of God’s perfect Law were too high to be reached by any member of the fallen race. No doubt many Israelites sincerely tried to keep the Law, but all came short of full attainment. Since the animal sacrifices of that age were not able to actually take away sin, the Law brought the Israelites under just condemnation, from which the mercy of God made no immediate provision for release. The way of escape was not provided until Jesus came to be the Redeemer and Savior of Israel and the whole world.

Speaking particularly of himself and other Israelites under the Law, Paul wrote, “When we were yet without strength [unable to keep the Law], in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom. 5:6) Jesus also died for the ungodly Gentiles, but only the Israelites had been under the Law, thus proving that no imperfect man could keep it.—Rom. 3:19

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice as a ransom, the time is soon coming when the Jews of Nehemiah’s day will, with the entire world of mankind, have another opportunity to make this confession under circumstances which will lead them to everlasting life. All men, including the Gentiles, will know that only through Christ’s death is life provided. Thus, the Scriptures explain how God can be just, yet the justifier of all who believe in Jesus.—Rom. 3:25,26; I John 2:2

Dawn Bible Students Association
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