"...[Y]ou in your great mercies did not forsake [Israel] in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them, did not withhold your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell." - Nehemiah 9:19-21
It is the 24th day of the seventh month in 445 bc, and Ezra, Nehemiah, and the people of Israel are gathered together in Jerusalem for a day of public Scripture reading, confession, and worship. The Levites, led by Jeshua, recount God's dealings with Israel from Abraham to their own day. The gist is that Israel has been unfaithful, but God is merciful. The history of Israel is viewed theologically.
Some life lessons from these verses are: (1) God doesn't forsake his people when they travel through the wilderness; (2) God is pleased to guide his people in the way they should go; (3) the Father gives his Holy Spirit to instruct his people; and (4) God is sure to provide for the basic necessities of his people.
Father, help me to think theologically about history and our own place in it. Atheism assumes an economic, military, political, or other way of viewing history. But these things are all secondary. A nation rises or falls based on its collective response to you. A nation's theology, not its economy, is paramount. It is the job of the Church today to remind citizens of this fact. The Church is to have a prophetic voice in the world. I pray believers in the Church will see life theologically. We are so conditioned to base decisions on social statistics, which are often manipulated or mischaracterised. We have stopped referencing your trustworthy word, especially in issues of ethics and morality. What are we doing? We are so foolish, Lord. So Lord, renovate our minds and bring us back into a right mindset toward you. May we live in accordance with you and how you have designed us and our world. Only then will we experience true harmony and peace. Thank you, Father, that you intend to bless us and that your rules and guidelines are for our good. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman