“All the Lord’s ways show faithful love and truth to those who keep his covenant and decrees.” (Psalm 25:10)
“But they were disobedient and rebelled against you. They flung your law behind their backs and killed your prophets who warned them.” (Nehemiah 9:26)
“…Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)
It not a new thing that people praise God and then turn their backs on God later.
Nehemiah recalls that people were inconsistent, following a Godly-ish leader, then falling away, falling to sin and oppression, then being restored. Could Nehemiah be wondering if the Israelites—finally returning home from Babylonian captivity—will last in their faithfulness, or if they will fall away…again. Throughout the bible there is an optimism that God is gracious and compassionate, and as bad as things get, God is still there.
God also never intended the story to be just about the Israelites. Through Jesus, the whole world (the Gentiles) has the opportunity to be part of God’s family and part of God’s redemptive story. So much of the story of God is about God seeking to restore right relationship between him and his chosen people, including us today.
1) Christmas is culturally a family time of celebration. Who are some people who don’t have family around, that you could invite to be part of your family this Christmas season? Or, do you need a family, just for a short time this season? Do we need framily?
2) God’s story is redemption and family. Is there a family relationship that needs to be restored? Is there a friendship than needs restoration?
3/KD) We are called to be like Christ. How can we show others, especially during Advent, what a redeemed life and a life with family (or framily) looks like?