Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 27, 2015

“They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.”

Today’s devotion comes from Nehemiah chapter 1.

“1  The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, 2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.  3 They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.”

4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days;  and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.  5 I said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 6 let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You;  I and my father’s house have sinned.  7 We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.  8 Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples;  9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’  10 They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.  11 O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.”

Now I was the cupbearer to the king.”   Nehemiah chapter 1.

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There is no hope in beseeching God:  “I will do better next time”.

But, there is much hope in beseeching God:  “They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.”  Verse 10.

Nevertheless, other doctrine relies on man’s wisdom and man’s will and urges us to just do better next time.

But, Reformed Doctrine recognizes that we may be given a million “second chances” but we will still not please God.  “Total Depravity” summarizes man’s natural condition of being dead in sin, hostile to God, and enslaved to sin and Satan.  “Total Depravity” is the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Reformed Doctrine recognizes that our only hope is that God chose us.  We are His servants, His people.  We were redeemed by Him by His great power and His strong hand.

“Unconditional Election” summarizes that we did nothing to motivate God to choose us for redemption.  God did not choose us for redemption, because we were wise or because we willed to be saved.  “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:16.  God chose us for redemption simply because He desired to do so.  “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:18.

Q. 1.  What is thy only comfort in life and death?

 A.  That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;  who, with His precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil;  and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;  yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.  Heidelberg Catechism.

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