Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate.
Those of us who love God are also prone to wander away from God. A. W. Tozer used an analogy to explain why that is. He said, “Every farmer knows the hunger of the wilderness, that hunger which no modern farm machinery, no improved agricultural methods, can ever quite destroy. No matter how well prepared the soil, how well kept the fences, how carefully painted the buildings, let the owner neglect for a while his prized and valued acres and they will revert again to the wild and be swallowed by the jungle or the wasteland. The bias of nature is toward the wilderness, never toward the fruitful field.” The same can be said about our relationship with God. No matter how sincere our intentions, the bias of life causes us to wander away from God. We do not mean for it happen. But the very real concerns we have about our families, about our jobs, about our finances cause us to focus on the temporal instead of the eternal. Pretty soon, we find ourselves in a place we never thought we would be. And we wonder, “Is it ever possible to regain our relationship with God? Is it ever possible to restore that intimacy with a God who we have lost our passion for?”
Maybe there was a time you were excited about your relationship with God but, quite frankly, you find yourself these days just going through the motions. You come to church, you open your Bible occasionally, you cry out to God when you need something specifically. But that passion is no longer there. If that is true for you, I have some good news for you: you are not alone. We all drift, we all wander in our relationship with God. But there is a way back, and we are going to discover that way back to God this week. In Nehemiah chapter 9, we are going to look at what I am calling a prayer for drifters.
Remember, Nehemiah came back to Jerusalem from Persia with a group of Israelites, and after fifty-two days they were successful in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Now they were ready to get down to the real work–rebuilding the people’s relationship with God. The Israelites had been away from God for seventy years in Babylonian captivity. They had lost touch with God. So Nehemiah turned to Ezra the priest, and beginning in chapter 8, they began a spiritual renewal of the people. When Ezra read the Word of God to the people, and they saw commandments they had failed to keep, it did something in their hearts. A beginning of spiritual revival always occurs when we are reacquainted with the Word of God, allowing God to speak to us. But in any relationship, there has to be more than a one-way conversation. Not only do we need God to speak to us, we need to speak to God as well through prayer. So this week we are going to look at a prayer that Ezra prayed on behalf of all the people in order to reconnect with God, to restore the people’s lost passion for God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Prayer For Drifters” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
A. W. Tozer, “The Root Of The Righteous” (1955; repr., Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2015), 121-2.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org