Read: Nehemiah 9:7-21
You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful. —Nehemiah 9:17
Jim decided to follow Christ at the age of 10. Fifteen years later his commitment had faded. He had adopted a live-for-the-moment philosophy and developed some bad habits. Then his life seemed to fall apart. He had problems at work. Three family members died almost simultaneously. Fears and doubts began to plague Jim, and nothing seemed to help—until one day when he read Psalm 121:2, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” These words cut through the fear and confusion in his heart. He turned back to God for help, and God welcomed him.
Jim’s spiritual journey reminds me of ancient Israel’s history. The Israelites had a unique relationship with God—they were His chosen people (Neh. 9:1-15). However, they spent many years rebelling and ignoring God’s goodness, turning away to follow their own path (vv.16-21). Yet when they returned to Him and repented, God was “ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness” (v.17).
These divine qualities encourage us to draw near to God—even after we have wandered away from Him. When we humbly abandon our rebellious ways and recommit ourselves to God’s ways, He will show compassion and welcome us back to closeness with Him.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me. —Thompson
God’s arms of welcome are always open.