The Mighty God We Serve

By Dr. Jack Graham

The prayer in Nehemiah 9:6–38 was delivered on behalf of Israel on the occasion of their renewed commitment to God. Reading it is like taking a walk through the Old Testament. It is a review of the history of Israel, the people of God. Why is this important? It is because people who don’t learn history’s lessons are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. But those who learn the lessons of history are able to apply them to life today.

It is helpful to be reminded of history, but more importantly, this prayer speaks to the faithfulness of a God whose sovereignty blesses His people. What a mighty God we serve!

Powerful Prayers to a Powerful God

Each time we pray, we are communicating and meeting with the God of the Bible. So often our praying is shallow and weak, self-centered and man-centered. When we read the great prayers of the Bible, we discover that those prayers were God-centered, focusing on Him. This incredible prayer describes the mighty God we serve. It tells us that:

He is a glorious God. Verse 6: “You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.” Our God is the Creator God, the sustaining God who not only makes everything, but holds everything together.

He is a faithful God. Verse 8: “You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have always kept your promise, for you are righteous.” He always keeps His promises, doing exactly as He says. He can be trusted.

He is a mighty God. Verses 9–11: “And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea, and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers. And you made a name for yourself, as it is to this day.” Our God is powerful and awesome.

He is a generous God. Verse 15: “You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst.” We can count on our generous heavenly Father to provide for our needs.

He is a forgiving God. Verse 17: “They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.”

He is a guiding God. Verse 19: “You in your great mercies did not forsake them 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.”

He is a patient God. Verse 21: “Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.” God performed kind of a divine Dr. Scholl’s on these children of Israel in the wilderness. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell. He is a patient and providing God.

He is a holy God. Verse 27: “Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies.” Note that God did discipline His people. In their rebellion, He turned them over to surrounding nations to discipline them.

What an incredible God we serve! He is a God who gave so much to His people—a faithful, loving, merciful, forgiving, patient God. No wonder we kneel in brokenness and humility and shout, “What a mighty and merciful God we serve!”