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Faithlife

Intercession (1) with God

Nehemiah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  33:42
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Nehemiah 1:4–11 NIV84
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said: “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. 8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ 10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.
Today we are going to learn two about two major truths regarding intercession with God.
Our attitude prior to intercession.
Our attitude during intercession.
Both of these reveal our character, motivation, and should express our love, devotion, understanding of who we are in light of our relationship with God.
You might be asking yourself, “do I need to sit and weep?”
This posture was customary in the Old Testament.
Ezra 9:3 NIV84
3 When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled.
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Job 2:8 NIV84
8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
Job 2:13 NIV84
13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
He wept because the report from Hanani was so bad!
Imagine the emotional distress you’d be in if someone confirmed what you thought was true.
Nehemiah and his fellow Jews were in exile, having been taken from their home country. They didn’t know for sure what had happened to their homeland, but could certainly guess.
His sorrow was so great that it moved him to tears.
In our culture, we don’t often see men cry.
More often, we see men curse, and use physical violence.
A weeping adult, especially a man, tells us the person is moved emotionally.
Nehemiah may have had a feeling of abandonment, or a loss of nationalism, or even a heavy burden of sin due to those of the past committed among his countrymen.
Mourning was typically an expressive act.
It was done through tears, vocalization, and sometimes through ritual expressions of grief and sadness-people knew what you were doing because it was a common way to express grief.
Fasting was required once a year on the Day of Atonement as seen in , but Nehemiah does so here even though it’s not required.
Fasting shows that you are willing to give up physically to focus on the spiritual.
Fasting is a practice that the Jews of that day would be very familiar with.
Nehemiah also prayed.
Notice to whom he directed his prayers: “before the God of heaven.”
Coupled with mourning, fasting, and praying, Nehemiah was readying himself before the almighty
Take a look at the words he used:
“great and awesome”
“God who keeps His covenant”
One on the problems we have in our individualistic society is that we often think we are better or more important than we actually are IN LIGHT OF our relationship to God.
Sure we have been adopted by Him as His children.
Sure our sins have been forgiven and we are made righteous in Him through Christ.
All this is true, but God’s holiness, perfection, righteousness, and glory still remain.
Notice how people talk about God.
“The man upstairs.”
“OMG!’
“Jeez!”
Thomas Watson wrote on the Ten Commandments and regarding the third commandment found in Watson says:
Exodus 20:7 NIV84
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“This commandment has two parts: 1. A negative expressed, that we must not take God’s name in vain; that is, cast any reflections and dishonour on his name. 2. An affirmation implied. That we should take care to reverence and honour his name.
Here Nehemiah was taking care to reverence and honor God’s name.
In our society, we need to do a better job with respect.
Kids with parents
Employees with bosses
Younger with older
And with anyone who is in a position of authority over us.
Nehemiah 1:5 NIV84
5 Then I said: “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands,
Nehemiah 1:8 NIV84
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,
Nehemiah 1:5 NIV84
Then I said: “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands,
Nehemiah 1:8 NIV84
“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,
Nehemiah 1:10–11 NIV84
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.
Nehemiah 1:10–11 NIV84
“They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.
Notice the key phrases in 5, 8, and 10-11:
“who keeps his covenant of love”
“If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations.”
“They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.”
When we respond to God in prayer, are we emulating this type of prayer and attitude?
God has made a covenant with us as well.
Hebrews 13:5 NIV84
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
1 John 1:9 NIV84
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 Peter 2:9 NIV84
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
The same Holy God has made a covenant with you and I, those who are born again as well.
Remember this my friend!
Nehemiah 1:6–7 NIV84
let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
Notice the sins he confessed:
His nations sins
His own.
The sins of his fathers (or the house of Judah)
He recognized the nation in which he lived has sinned against God.
They’ve embraced the gods of the Babylonians and Persians.
In captivity, they’ve turned away from worshipping the One True God.
He recognized he was a part of that sin.
It’s easy to point out the sins of others while forgetting that we’ve broken God’s laws and commandments as well.
When we are in misery, sometimes it is due to the fact that other people have sinned and we are receiving the results, sometimes it’s simply because there is a sin nature that touches everything: you haven’t done anything in particular, but you are still reaping the “benefits” of sin. And other times we are in misery due to the fact that we, us, ourselves, have sinned against God.
He recognized the sins of his fathers.
We are greatly impacted by the generations that precede us. Sometimes in a good way and other times not so much.
In order to get past some things in life, we may need to recognize a particular sin that happened in the past yet seems to rear it’s ugly head when we would least like it to.
When we come before a holy and mighty God, are we taking the time to look for any known sin?
It may be personal, national, and familial.
All of these sins need to be recognized before God as we bring our requests to Him.
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