January 25, 2014

The Choice

Nehemiah 9:22-37

“They … were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness. But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law.”
—Nehemiah 9:25-26


God chose to make Israel his vehicle of love. He wanted them to be a light to the nations. In today’s verses, Israel recalls God’s actions with their ancestors. God “gave them kingdoms and nations.” He “made their children as numerous as the stars in the sky.” He chose them for the purpose of revealing his faithfulness and love for them and of blessing the nations through them.

As Israel prepared to begin a new journey with the God who had chosen them, they confessed that they had made unwise choices. Success had not made Israel choose to love God more; it tempted them to do whatever they wanted. God gave them salvation, but they worshiped other gods. Nehemiah wrote, “As soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight.” Israel chose to live their lives on their own terms rather than the Lord’s.

Today you and I will make choices that can lead toward big decisions to either follow the Lord or not. You will choose to increase either your kingdom or God’s. You will choose to do your will or the Lord’s. You will choose to love or hate your neighbor. The biggest choice made in our life was that God first chose us to be his. Now, how will you respond?

Righteous Lord, I regret choices I have made in the past. Forgive me in the name of Jesus, your Son. Help me to make choices that please you and allow your kingdom to come. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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