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Daily Devotional Nehemiah 9:32–38

Sometimes the distressing situation we find ourselves in is a result of our own poor choices. Sin has consequences, and we live with the fall because of our disobedience. Nehemiah chapter 9 ends with a plea to God: “We are in great distress” (v. 37). God’s people had just prayed a prayer, being radically honest before God. They conclude by asking God to be faithful, just as He always has been. In their state of distress, they need Him!

In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly.


Verse 32 opens with a quotation from Deuteronomy 10:17. If you’re not familiar with the passage, take a few minutes to read verses 12–22. Here, the Lord reminds the people that He is the defender of widows, orphans, and foreigners and tells them to do the same. They are also to worship the Lord and Him alone.

Unfortunately, the Israelites did not do what the Lord required of them, and so they found themselves as “slaves in the land you gave our ancestors” (v. 36). They remind themselves that the Lord is a God who defends the powerless, a great comfort since they have found themselves in dire circumstances. “We are in great distress,” they tell the Lord, and ask Him to be who He has already shown Himself to be—“the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love” (v. 32).

Notice that they don’t elevate themselves or remind Him of their accomplishments, or even base their request on their repentance. No, they fall upon God’s mercy and base their requests on His character. This, I believe, is the most important thing we can learn from today’s passage. Our only hope is in God, not in our own goodness or righteousness or deservedness (Isa. 64:6). When we pray, let us rest on the rock-solid foundation of who God is and never the shifting sands of who we are.

>> Make today’s passage personal by praying that prayer for yourself. No matter what circumstance you may find yourself in, know that God is always faithful!

Pray with Us

Because You are merciful, we approach Your throne; because You are just, we confess our sins; because You are holy, we repent. Because of Your love, we receive Your forgiveness. Through Your faithfulness, we grow in our faith.

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