VIDEO Say the Same As

However You are just in all that has befallen us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have done wickedly.
Nehemiah 9:33

The Greek word for confess helps us understand confession of sin—and Nehemiah 9:33 gives us a good example. The Greek word for confess is homologeo derived from two words that mean “same” and “speak.” So homologeo means to “say the same thing as.” Therefore, when we confess our sins to God, we say the same thing about our sin that God would say. We don’t defend, deny, or dissemble; we say what God says. If God says our behavior was wrong, we also say it was wrong.

One of the longest and most beautiful prayers in Scripture is a Levitical prayer of confession, spoken on behalf of all Israel (Nehemiah 9:5-38). It was a confession of the rebellion against God that led Israel into captivity in Babylon. In 34 verses the prayer recounts the history of God’s faithfulness, as summarized in verse 33: You were righteous and right; we were sinful and wrong. They even put the confession in writing and signed it (verse 38)!

When we sin, we must say the same thing about our sin that God says, knowing He will forgive and cleanse us (1 John 1:9).

The beginning of repentance is the confession of guilt. John Calvin


We’ve Failed…but God – Nehemiah 9 – Skip Heitzig

Etch A Sketch Forgiveness

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

The little red rectangular box was magical. As a kid, I could play with it for hours. When I turned one knob on the box, I could create a horizontal line on its screen. Turn the other knob and voila—a vertical line. When I turned the knobs together, I could make diagonal lines, circles, and creative designs. But the real magic came when I turned my Etch A Sketch toy upside down, shook it a little and turned it right side up. A blank screen appeared, offering me the opportunity to create a new design.

God’s forgiveness works much like that Etch A Sketch. He wipes away our sins, creating a clean canvas for us. Even if we remember wrongs we committed, God chooses to forgive and forget. He’s wiped them out and doesn’t hold our sins against us. He doesn’t treat us according to our sinful actions (Psalm 103:10) but extends grace through forgiveness. We have a clean slate—a new life awaiting us when we seek God’s forgiveness. We can be rid of guilt and shame because of His amazing gift to us.

The psalmist reminds us that our sins have been separated from us as far as the east is separated from the west (v. 12). That’s as far away as you can get! In God’s eyes, our sins no longer cling to us like a scarlet letter or a bad drawing. That’s reason to rejoice and to thank God for His amazing grace and mercy.

By:  Katara Patton

Reflect & Pray

Why do you think God chooses to not treat you as your actions might deserve? How can you thank Him for separating your sins from you?

Loving God, thank You for forgiveness. Remind me that You no longer remember my sins.

Read The Forgiveness of God.

A Pattern for Prayer

Jesus teaches what to focus on in our prayers and encourages us to approach God with a humble heart

Matthew 6:5-10

Are your conversations with God primarily a checklist of needs? Petitions are certainly appropriate, but prayer is also a time to focus on the Lord in love and worship. When praying to our Father in heaven, we should ponder three things that today’s passage indicates are important to Him: His name, His kingdom, and His will (Matt. 6:9-10). 

Hallowed be Your name. While the goal is to honor and exalt God, our prayers can easily become self-centered. This can be an issue in public prayer if we try to exalt ourselves in the eyes of others. But it can also happen privately when we focus only on what we want God to 

do. 

Your kingdom come. Praying for God’s coming kingdom means setting our hope on Christ’s future reign while submitting to His rule over our life now.

Your will be done. No matter how much we want the Lord to answer our prayers the way we desire, every petition must be readily submitted to God’s will. It is a way of acknowledging that His way is always best. 

The next time you pray, make a point of pondering the Lord’s greatness, exalting Him, and humbly submitting your will to His. 

Abram the Called

“So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.” (Genesis 12:4)

It is not clear from the text just how God made Himself known to Abram when He called him to go to Canaan. The language would imply that there was an audible conversation of some sort—far different from what you and I might expect today. At the time of this calling, Abram was not then a follower of Yahweh, yet the circumstances of God’s intervention were enough to persuade Abram to uproot his family and start the journey.

Abram’s calling and initial response (Genesis 12:1-5) are analogous to an “awakening,” the initial faith to “see” God (Ephesians 2:8). There were no specifics in God’s promise, only broad terms of blessing.

Abram’s response was all that he knew to do at that time, to respond in obedience (nonresistance) just as the Scripture implies we are to do (1 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2-5). Salvation is completely God’s doing; our “work” is never involved (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 10:8-17). All we can ever do is rebel and reject the drawing that God wields (John 6:44). Damnation is man’s work (John 3:19-21; Romans 1:18-32).

That is why Abram became the biblical example of the faithful (Galatians 3:6-9; Hebrews 11:8-10). The actual moment of Abram’s “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24) seems to have come somewhat later when he “believes God” (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3). Although repentance and faith may come in a rapid sequence, sometimes (especially in adult conversions) the events may be drawn out over time. Either way, it is by “grace are ye saved, through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). HMM III

Song of the Slandered Saint

Suggested By Spurgeon

my God, I seek refuge in You; save me from all my pursuers and rescue me, or they will tear me like a lion, ripping me apart, with no one to rescue me. Let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous. The One who examines the thoughts and emotions is a righteous God. I will thank the Lord for His righteousness; I will sing about the name of the Lord, the Most High ( Psalm 7 vv. 1-2, 9,17).

Betrayed, hounded, and unjustly accused as a result of Saul’s jealousy and rivalry, David broke forth with a plea, “Lord, it isn’t fair!” I remember a producer who accused me of too much self-confidence and arrogance when actually I had many self-doubts. I felt I had been judged unfairly.

David didn’t just complain. He moved on to honest prayer and finally to praise. He came down on the side of God instead of on the side of despair. Deep in his soul David knew that the “Judge of all the earth will do right” (see Gen. 18:25). He found security in God’s righteousness (v. 9). He practiced in the ancient world what the apostle Paul later taught: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanks giving , let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

Personal Prayer

O Lord Most High, may I not wallow in despair today, but may I completely trust your righteousness and fairness.

Sin Can Be Overcome

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.—Romans 13:14

Every sin can be overcome. Don’t allow yourself to admit to any exception, for if you do, this exception will be the loose bolt that causes the bridge to fall down.

One of the sad things about certain sections of the modern-day church is the moral fatalism that says in regard to one’s sin: “But what could I do? I am just a frail human being.” The implication is that sin is an integral part of human nature, and as long as we remain human, we shall never be able to overcome sin. The clear message of the gospel is spelled out in this verse: “Sin will not rule over you” (Rm 6:14).

Today’s text in The Amplified Bible reads: “But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and make no provision for indulging the flesh—put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature—to gratify its desires and lusts.” Notice the phrase: “make no provision for indulging the flesh.” In other words, do not provide for failure; provide for victory. There must be an absoluteness about the whole thing.

There are dangers in pretending we are winning the battle against sin when we are not, or in approaching the whole issue from self-effort. But these dangers, in my opinion, are not as great as mentally providing for sin in our lives. The tyranny of this fatalism—that as long as we are in the flesh, we must expect to sin—must be broken. The Christian life must be lived from the standpoint that we expect not to sin. I repeat: every sin can be overcome.

Prayer

My Father and my God, help me to lay hold on the fact that Your offer is not simply to help me realize what sin is, but to release me from it. May I enter more and more into that glorious deliverance day by day. Amen.

Further Study

Rm 6:11; 7-8; Jn 8:34

What set Paul free?

What is the obligation we have?

Between You and Me, Lord

Psalm 32:8

I see it clearly, Lord,

every single thing that happens

is ultimately between You and me,

just the two of us alone.

No matter who is sitting beside me,

no matter how many people crowd around

or whether I am at home or abroad,

in the final analysis it is my relationship with You that counts.

There is the outside me that other people know:

how I walk and talk,

how I dress and eat,

what I like and dislike.

Folk could write essays on all that

and yet I should find it difficult to accept

for it wouldn’t be the real me.

The real me only You know fully.

The inner person that only partially expresses itself,

that struggles for life

against the bonds of the body encumbering it,

that flutters and strains for it hardly knows what,

striving for something greater than it can express—

This hidden self You know and understand,

and I am glad in that knowledge.

That is why all that happens is finally

just between You and me.

For You are the only one who can truly judge me.

You are reality, the unchangeable truth,

and a spark of Your eternal spirit has been lit in my heart

drawing me to You,

linking me with You,

invisibly and eternally.

Flora Larsson, Between You and Me, Lord