But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. They 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 walls were not the only thing in Jerusalem that needed to be rebuilt. The hearts of the people were in spiritual disrepair. Ezra was called on to lead the spiritual renewal. The people reviewed the deeds of their ancestors that had brought on the downfall of the nation and then proclaimed five characteristics of God. Take the time to thank God for the way he has demonstrated these attributes in your life.
Forgiveness: When we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us. Scripture says that he separates our sin from us as far as the east is from the west; he puts them behind his back; he throws them into the depth of the sea; he remembers our sins no more. God will forgive you…and then you can forgive yourself. Father, thank you for forgiving my sins and remembering them no more.
Grace: In God’s mercy he holds back what we deserve. In his grace, he gives us what we don’t deserve. Grace is not earned or deserved. It is absolutely free. If grace wasn’t free, it wouldn’t be grace. Father, thank you for giving me what I absolutely do not deserve.
Compassion: God does not leave us in our state of sin. He has deep sympathy for us and moves in to alleviate our desperate state. Father, thank you for your great compassion!
Slow to Anger: God is always ready to forgive us. Lord, I am such a slow learner. Thank you for being so patient with me.
Love: God’s love overflows in its abundance. He loves us so much that he gave his Son to die as our substitute on the cross. That is abounding love! Father, thank you for showing your love by sending Jesus for me while I was still a sinner and had no intention of turning to you.
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