And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the LORD their God.
Nehemiah 9:3, ESV
At the end of the Babylonian Captivity of the Jewish people, they returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple. In this time, the Torah was found. In this verse, it is translated as Law, but many say it is better translated as the teachings. This included not only Law but also the story of God’s continued care for His people, what we would call the Gospel. They reclaimed the accounts of how God led them out of slavery and into the promised land. They reclaimed the teachings of how, even in their failures and unfaithfulness, God still protected them. They not only heard the Word, but they confessed their sins. We have this same promise for us. When we realize our failures and see the love of God. We have a God who will forgive us and restore us. It’s not something we earn but a sign of his steadfast love for us. The power of the Word of God is that it is not meant to bind us up but to set us free in the coverings of God. It is not just a book of rules that tell us what to do or not to do but shows us a God that covers our guilt and shame and restores us to Himself. God is not against us, but He always stands by us, seeking our repentance so that we fully return to Him. The Word is a word of restoration and promise. Though it is best, we avoid the things that are contrary to God, if we find ourselves caught in the muck and the mire of this world, God will come to us and restore us to Himself when we cry out to Him. It is God who has chosen, and it is God who redeems and saves. Like the father running after the prodigal son, so is it with God with those He has chosen. Not that we won’t feel pain or that there won’t be any consequences for our failures, but those consequences are only for a short time in comparison to eternity with our God.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.