Reflection Guide - Nehemiah 9:16-31

Key points from the sermon:

  • In this large passage, we see the recurring themes of Israel’s disobedience and God’s faithfulness.  We ultimately see God as a good father to His children.

  • The following words are used to describe the Israelites: presumptuous, stiffnecked, disobedient, rebellious, blasphemous, evil, stubborn.  In stark comparison, the following words are used describe God’s response: ready to forgive, gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, did not forsake, did not depart, gave His very good Spirit, sustained, multiplied, heard them, delivered them, and bore with them.

  • This passage directly applies to our parenting: when our kids act like Israel, we can be forgiving, gracious, merciful, bearing with them because we act like Israel too, and God remains faithful.  We can parent with hope - not in our kids, not in our own parenting, but in God’s faithfulness!

  • Israel had a heart problem.  We too have a heart problem. As our good Father, God wants to give us a new heart and He has always had a plan to do so.  From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to forsake His own Son on the cross so that we (rebellious, prideful people) would not be forsaken!  By trusting in His Son, we are made new - given new hearts and given full access to God the Father.

  • No matter what we do, no matter how many times we turn away from God or spit in His face or forget His wonders, He never changes!  We can enjoy Him as our Abba Father today and everyday!

Scripture to meditate on this week:

“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!’”  -Romans 8:15

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the recurring themes in this passage?  What words describe the Israelites? What words describe God?

  2. What does it mean to be stiffnecked?  In today’s culture, how does it look to make a “golden calf” for ourselves or kill God’s prophets?  How can we as an MC guard against such pride and wickedness?

  3. As parents or future parents, how does this passage inform and possibly revolutionize our parenting?  How does this passage give us hope in regards to parenting?

  4. Do you enjoy God as our Abba Father?  Why or why not? What true or false things are you projecting onto God as our Father?

Practice:

This week let’s enjoy God as our patient, loving Father.  Try reading this large passage of Scripture every day this week and let it sink in… we sin, God forgives; we sin, God forgives; we sin, God forgives.  He never changes! Practice calling out, “Abba! Father!”, trusting that He hears our cries and He responds as a compassionate daddy (Psalm 103:13). If you’re a parent or spiritual parent (we’re all discipling someone), rest in the fact that you’re not perfect.  Our job as parents is simply to lead our children to the One who is the perfect parent and enjoy His fatherly love together.