Jul 19, 2021 |Nehemiah

The Savior Of The Stiff Necked Community

07.19.21 | Nehemiah

The Savior Of The Stiff Necked Community

Justin Detmers

Nehemiah 9

Considering sin, we often think about our personal failings or how others have sinned against us, but how often do we consider the sins of our collective community? Pastor Justin Detmers reminds us that sin can be a communal problem and we are called to repent of it. When we see God for who He is, we see ourselves for who we are, and His holiness has a way of squashing our pride.

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On the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites assembled; they were fasting, wearing sackcloth, and had put dust on their heads.

Nehemiah 9:1
Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their ancestors.

Nehemiah 9:2
[quote]Sin, when in the body, cannot not stay put. It’s not a guest that stays in one room, making sure not to disturb the others. It is a tenant that lives in everything and goes everywhere. It can bleed into every part, choking out anything holy. – Jackie Hill Perry[/quote]
While they stood in their places, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day and spent another fourth of the day in confession and worship of the LORD their God.

Nehemiah 9:3
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Nehemiah 9:3
[quote]Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. – Abraham Lincoln[/quote]
Stood on the raised platform built for the Levites and cried out loudly to the LORD their God. Then the Levites — Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah  — said, “Stand up. Blessed be the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting.”

Nehemiah 9:4-5
But our ancestors acted arrogantly; they became stiff-necked and did not listen to your commands. They refused to listen and did not remember your wonders you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love, and you did not abandon them.

Nehemiah 9:16-17
You warned them to turn back to your law, but they acted arrogantly and would not obey your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, which a person will live by if he does them. They stubbornly resisted, stiffened their necks, and would not obey. You were patient with them for many years, and your Spirit warned them through your prophets, but they would not listen. Therefore, you handed them over to the surrounding peoples.

Nehemiah 9:29-30
However, in your abundant compassion, you did not destroy them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and compassionate God.

Nehemiah 9:31
[quote]God acts merciful toward stiff-necked people when they repent[/quote]
[quote]Possibilities for Corporate Repentance:
– Biting and devouring one another
– Favoritism and neglecting Jesus
– Repent of drifting from the mission[/quote]
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20
[quote]“Christ did not die to redeem us in part. Neither did He rise so that we might have life in
portions. But with us having a body made for Him, as well as the mind, will, personality, and
emotions that it contains, we must understand that God is after us becoming victorious over any
and all sin that would hinder the whole person from serving God fully and freely.” – Jackie Hill Perry[/quote]

Read Nehemiah 9:1-3. How would you describe Israel’s posture toward their collective sin?

What is your response typically like when you consider your own connection to corporate sin? That is, are you more inclined to be humble, teachable, and repentant or dismissive and defensive?

Considering Nehemiah 9:16-17; can you think of other examples (both in the Bible and in world history) of God’s people being stiff-necked, refusing to listen to Him and refusing to turn from sin?

Read Nehemiah 9:17 and 9:31. How does God deal with His sinful and stiff-necked people? How does His character and kindness drive us to both worship Him and motivate us to commit our lives to obedient service?

What things do you think the people of God ought to repent of in order put His holiness, grace, and love on display for the rest of the world?