I have been reading through Nehemiah during my devotional time and there have been certain verses which have popped out to me, caused me think and mediate on. Here is one of them,
Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. (Neh. 9:36)
Nehemiah and the people of Israel have completed the wall, Ezra read the law, they have celebrated the feast of booths and now they are repenting of their sins of idolatry and disobedience to God as a nation. Their prayer is a recounting of the nation of Israel’s history of unfaithfulness and at the same time it is a recounting of God’s faithful steadfast love.
Israel’s disobedience brought on the Babylonian exile. They decimated Israel and enslaved them. The Persians came along and decimated the Babylonians, but Israel still remained enslaved. In their enslavement they were allowed to go back to Jerusalem, they rebuilt the temple and the wall, which defends the city, but yet they are still slaves in the land of blessing. They live in the land of promise but the blessings that come with the land are forfeited and go to the king as a result of their enslavement.
As I have been dwelling on this for weeks, I have been asking myself many questions. Is it possible for us as Christians to live in the blessing of salvation and yet be bound and not enjoy the blessings God has graciously given to us in salvation?
Do we go through life like Israel forfeiting, not our salvation, but the blessings that come with being in Christ, for momentary pleasures which cause us to be bound in the land of blessing?
One of the many blessing we have in Christ is freedom, the truth of the Gospel sets us free from fear, sin, death and the kingdom of Satan. Paul lets us know we are no longer slaves to fear, sin, death, and Satan but we are adopted sons and daughters of God.
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15)
But notice that first clause, “you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear”, Paul recognized their was the temptation to fall back into fear, slavery and to live bound in the land of blessing. This is not because the Lord is lacking in grace or that we are lacking something from God. The problem is when the human heart strays from God. In the words of Robert Robinson,
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love:
Take my heart, oh, take and seal it
With Thy Spirit from above.
Rescued thus from sin and danger,
Purchased by the Savior’s blood,
May I walk on earth a stranger,
As a son and heir of God.
I would like to focus this week through a series of post on how believers can be bound in the land of blessing. When we wander and leave, when other things appear to be more attractive, or our hurt overcomes us, or when we come into contact with other philosophies and teachings that may cause us to stray from the truth of the Gospel. Stay tuned…
until next time
Soli Deo Gloria