IN THE BEGINNING, GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH – Genesis 1:1
THEN THE LEVITES…SAID, “STAND UP AND BLESS THE LORD YOUR GOD FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING. BLESSED BE YOUR GLORIOUS NAME, WHICH IS EXALTED ABOVE ALL BLESSING AND PRAISE. YOU ARE THE LORD, YOU ALONE. YOU HAVE MADE THE 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. – Nehemiah 9:5-6
The passage from Nehemiah is part of a larger story where God’s people are repenting from their sins and turning back to God. It is curious that the prayer of repentance found in chapter 9 begins with words of praise.
When we sin, we are committing a crime against the same God who created the universe. And so it is important to recognise the beauty, splendour, power and majesty of the One we sin against.
Just as a criminal on trial may have to face the testimony of his victims (or victim’s loved ones), so too must we take stock of the God that we have rebelled against.
But in this very act of remembering the One whom we have betrayed, we are led by grace into the the very position where we can receive forgiveness. For it is as we savour His beauty and gaze upon His glory, we find ourselves transformed and regenerated “from one degree of glory to another”.
As we call to mind the power of the Creator God, we remind ourselves of the new creation He has already formed in us as Christians. And so our sorrow for sin is not worldly resulting in no change, rather it is godly and positions us to receive God’s grace.
This passage also reminds us that:
- God not only created the Heaven’s and the Earth, He also preserves them!
- Our identity and (hi)story is rooted in God’s activity. From this verse the Israelites recall how God chose Abraham and then how He rescued them from Egypt. Let us not let our sin, our past, our successes or failures, define us. Rather let us recognise the Creator of everything is our foundation.
- Does it go without saying that we should worship God and bless His name for being The Creator? Yes, let us celebrate Jesus’ victory over death at the cross. Let us rejoice in His salvation. But let us also realise the power, love and goodness of God in creation as well.