“True worship must worship God as He exists, not as we wish Him to be. …if we make an image of God in our mid that is not in accord with God’s revelation of himself, then we are not worshiping in truth. We must be willing to love God as He is, and that includes every aspect of His being that might, due to our fallen state, be offensive to us, or beyond our limited capacities to fully comprehend. God is not to be edited to fit our ideas and preconceptions. Instead, we must always be asking Him to graciously open our clouded mind and reveal himself to us so that we may love Him truly and worship Him aright” (The forgotten Trinity, James R. White, PG. 18)
Read Nehemiah 9:5-
3) True Worship is God focused
Everlasting to Everlasting, blessed is your glorious name
After they repented of their sins they began to take their focus off of themselves and put their focus on who God is. Satan wants you to take you to one extreme or the other. Either you do not look at sin as a sin or you focus so much on your sin that your focus is no longer on God. People that cannot accept the free and wonderful grace of God and His salvation given to us through Jesus Christ are people who are focused on themselves. Just as it is wrong to not care that we have sinned it is equally wrong to stay in a place of self focus by turning our attention on our sin . We must know who we are in Christ and how He died on the cross to make us right again with a Holy and loving God. After we confess our sins our focus must shift back to God so we do not take away from the work that Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.
Read Nehemiah 9:6
“You have made the Heavens” “You are the Lord alone”
God is the creator of the universe because He has always existed before there was such a thing as time. Either God is the creator or you have to accept by faith another notion that matter has always existed. Carl Sagan said, “The Cosmos is all there is, ever was and will ever be” Carl Sagan thoughts are similar to what God tells us about Himself. We have been taught the universe always existed or at least some energy or matter and so basically it comes down to God has always existed or matter has. The Doctrine of Creation is important because it emphasizes God’s sovereignty and is the foundation of all that we believe. If you have not come to a conclusion as to how earth came into being I would encourage you to study the topic. (You can go to Genesis 1 or what we believe on my blog for more information and resources)
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above[a] proclaims his handiwork
When is the last time you praised God for His creation? When is the last time you put all your electronical devices aside and stared up at the stars? The beauty of creation is the handiwork of God and we need to pause and praise Him for the wonderful things He has given us.
Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse
If people truly studied creation they will believe there is a God. Although many say that the study of science will lead you away from a belief in God or a god, the opposite is actually true.
“There are good reasons to believe in God, including the existence of mathematical principles and order in creation. They are positive reasons, based on knowledge, rather than default assumptions based on a temporary lack of knowledge.” (Geneticist Francis Collins, the leader of the Human Genome Project and currently the director of the National Institutes of Health in the United States.)
God’s creations points to Him not away from Him and there have been atheist who have given their lives to Christ simply because all the evidence points to their being a God.
Read Nehemiah 9:7-15
B) Provider for His people
Fifteen times in this chapter the word for give is used as the people recognize who God is. They remember all that God has done for His people and how He rescued them, provided for them and even did miracles that were unexplainable in front of them. We sometimes forget all that God has done for us simply because we focus on what we do not have.The people were thankful for the delivery of their ancestors out of slavery and for escaping death because God parted the water. We forget that God has also rescued us out of slavery and from death.
Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
In the midst of our daily struggles we sometimes forget that God fixed our ultimate problem which was sin and death.
Actor Morgan Freeman asked the questions what happens when we die in a National Geographic show called “The story of God” The ultimate question is what happens after this life is over. No matter how good we have it or how long we live, one day we will die. God has delivered us from certain death just like the children of God were delivered from Pharaoh and his army.
1 Corinthians 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
The language of the New Testament reflects the Exodus encounter. A passage to the promise land was made by God and the enemy of death was swallowed up in the red sea. The people could not have made the path to the promise land and the army of Pharaoh was quickly coming upon them to destroy them. For Paul to say that death is swallowed up in victory is a reference back to the children of God crossing the Red Sea and God providing a path to the promise land but also destroying the army when the sea closed back up destroying the army.
When is the last time you thanked God for rescuing you from sin and death? We take salvation for granted many times and we forget the sacrifice that God made on our behalf. We cannot earn our way into Heaven by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9) so we need to be thankful that by God’s grace and mercy He provided the way for us.
The people recognized that God loved them and that is why He established the Ten Commandments. How you view God will determine how you view His word. When you see Him as a loving God who cares and rescues you from death then you know that the rest of what He says to do is out of love and care for His creation. A parent telling their kid not to play in the street is not a mean restrictive parent, they are a loving caring parent who knows that certain behavior will lead to pain and sometimes death.
When is the last time you thanked God for His guidance with the things He does not want you to do? When is the last time you thanked Him for His revealed word? God did not have to reach out to us but because He loves us He wanted to make sure we knew the way and the best way to live as His creation.
You gave them bread from Heaven and water from a rock
The people were thankful for what God had done with providing for them but there is more to this than just physical hunger. There is a deeper meaning to God providing the ultimate food for His people.
John 6:32-35 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
This world will never satisfy the hunger people have in their lives. People will try and find happiness and fulfillment in this world but eventually the things they chase after will eventually leave them longing for more. Jesus said He was the only thing that could truly fill people up and quench their true thirst.
Read Nehemiah 9:16-21
C) Giver of Mercy and Grace
God never acts toward us as we deserve. We have a tendency to question God because of what He allows in this world. But none of us receive what we deserve from God because we all deserve to be eternally separated from Him. We are just like the people of Israel in that in the midst of all that He has done for us we have turned to other idols and have forgotten all God has done. Stiff necked is always used to describe someone who is stubborn. The illustration is an animal who is refusing to cooperate with the yoke around its neck. Even when we fight against the ways of God He demonstrates grace and mercy to us.
The cloud and fire to lead them did not depart
One of the ways God showed His grace and mercy was that He continued to give them guidance in the desert even when they were disobedient. We would not put up with ourselves let alone people that were rebelling against us but that is exactly what God did for His children. Despite all the failures of the people God still provided and guided them to where He wanted them to be.
Romans 5:20 says that where sin increased, grace increased even more.2 Peter 3:9 says that God is patient because He does not want any to perish.
Read Nehemiah 9:26-31
Does this not sound like us? When things are bad we cry out to God but as soon as things are good we forget about Him. They even silenced the prophets who were telling them the truth. We are in a dangerous place when we silence the truth of God from our lives. We stop reading our Bibles, stop going to church, and stop hanging around Christians who speak the truth into our lives. God will bring us back by allowing circumstances and problems into our lives to discipline us but even in God’s discipline of us it shows His mercy. Discipline is hated but so necessary and God will discipline His children to try and keep them from totally destroying their lives and the lives of those around them.
Hebrews 12:5-6 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
The people recognized that everything passed through the hand of God for a reason that goes beyond their understanding but still because of His love and mercy. The people remembered all God had done for them and by doing so they could trust Him with their future.
True worship needs to be full of confession and repentance of sin but also focused on God. God is the provider for His children and we cannot forget that He made a way for us to make it to the promise land through the path of Christ. (John 14:6)