When Nehemiah enquired regarding the state of the remant children of Israel who had been brought out of captivity, he received a negative report; they were in great distress and reproach (v3).  His response was:

Nehemiah 1:4-5 “4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,”

He goes on to cry out to God day and night for the sins of himself and the children of Israel (v6-10).  We read in verse 11 that God is attentive to the prayers of His servants who desire to fear his name.

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Daniel had been fasting for three weeks when he received a vision.  He was in a deep sleep with his face to the ground (v2-9).

Daniel 10:10-12 “10 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.””

We have been made righteous by the death and resurrection of Jesus and can add nothing to that.  I am not about to suggest that there is a certain way or time required for prayer, nor some scheduled fasting.  Our works done in the flesh do not impress God, however, these things can display our heart attitude. 

Are we hungering and thirsting for righteousness?  Are we pure of heart or do we harbour a love for something other than Him?  It is the pure of heart who will see God. (Matthew 5:8)

It seems that at some point, today’s christianity lowered the bar.  God did not humble himself and come in the form of a man, so that man could reduce their reverence of Him! 

As I read through the old testament, I see men and women humbling themselves, devoted to studying the Word of God, not out of obligation, but out of a consuming love for God.  It didn’t make them perfect (sin still entered their lives) but God heard their prayers because of their love and fear of Him.

It is the absence of the fear of the Lord, (i.e. the understanding of His all powerful, awesome greatness; His ability to destroy both soul and body in hell; His tender mercies, available to all who humble themselves before Him so we are not consumed) which is holding people in deception and is removing the reverence of His Holiness from people’s hearts. 

His word declares His greatness.  We must not fail to see it.  He will soon be seen in all His Glory – a glory that was too terrifying for the children of Israel in the wilderness.  We must know Him to the point where His glory revealed does not cause us to run and flee, but to approach (no doubt, trembling) but forward nonetheless.

Deuteronomy 32:3 “For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greateness to our God.”

 

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