Monday, August 15, 2011

Repenting for Our Fathers' Sins - Part 5/6

Nehemiah also provides us with two examples of repentance for the sins of our fathers. In a first example, the prayer is simply indicated, without the details being provided:

Nehemiah 9:1-3
Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.
Hopefully, a theme is catching on in the mind of my readers who may have been skeptical that perhaps the previous examples were isolated cases.

As for the prayer that was used, we do not know exactly what was prayed in the prayer mentioned in Nehemiah 9. Nevertheless, we can see an example of the sort of prayer that may have been used in Nehemiah's own prayer.

Nehemiah 1:1-11
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
And they said unto me, "The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire."
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
And said,
I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, "If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: but if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there." Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.
For I was the king's cupbearer.
In this example, it is not explicit that Nehemiah is confessing his fathers' sins, since he could simply mean those of his siblings with the expression "Father's house." Nevertheless, given the other example above, it seems reasonable to suppose that Nehemiah is also including his ancestors.

Perhaps it is useful at this point to observe that Nehemiah is praying about his ancestor's sins, but for himself - not for them. It is too late for them. They have already passed on - either unto glory or dishonor. These prayers are prayers for the living, even if they are sometimes about the dead.

(to be continued)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TF, today as I read this, these words within the prayer jump off the page and my mind immediately went to the Book of Deuteronomy.

First the words from the prayer:

"... and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, ..."

Now, those Words of Moses:

Deu 30:1 "And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you,
Deu 30:2 and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul,
Deu 30:3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.

Deu 30:4 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven,
from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you.
Deu 30:5 And the LORD your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers.

For me, I believe since my birth into a Native American family I was introduced to the "spirit" world.

It wasn't until God breathed upon my spirit, conjoining me to Christ, did I realize just how different those "spirits" were when considering this new life experience with the Holy Spirit.

Now things make more sense to me that we are spirit beings "known" by God Himself, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and they know me intimately; and better than I know myself, even with Their touch and the revelations and the glimpses into the Invisible world that surrounds us all, whether we are His Elect or reprobate.

As I read the Scriptures, and now even more and more that I "listen" to them with my audio Bible, my spiritual senses are being keenly sharpened to see into the spirit world making some verses more palatable when I read them, like these:

Deu 32:15 "But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
Deu 32:16 They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger.
Deu 32:17 They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.
Deu 32:18 You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
Deu 32:19 "The LORD saw it and spurned them, because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.
Deu 32:20 And he said, 'I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.
Deu 32:21 They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.


Psa 106:36 They served their idols, which became a snare to them.
Psa 106:37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons;
Psa 106:38 they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.
Psa 106:39 Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.

Now I sense and understand true spiritual wrestling and the warfare that is in front of us as we move closer and closer to the day of our Salvation!