Jump to Prayer FocusBible Passage for Meditation: Nehemiah 9:16-21
Key Verse: “You, in Your great compassion, did not forsake them in the wilderness; The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day, to guide them on their way, nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.” (Nehemiah 9:19, NASB)
Just as God sends rain on the just and on the unjust, to water the earth, so He sends His Spirit to work upon hearts—both the receptive and the rebellious.
The gift of the Holy Spirit comes from God as a token of His love for us. He desires to make us His dwelling place that He may accomplish His plans in and through us. However, many of us are slow to respond. Thankfully, He is longsuffering and patient and keeps seeking to woo us and bring us back to Himself as He continues to send showers of blessings from His throne.
Ellen White tells us, “From the beginning, God has been working by His Holy Spirit through human instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose in behalf of the fallen race. This was manifest in the lives of the patriarchs. To the church in the wilderness also, in the time of Moses, God gave His ‘good spirit to instruct them.’ Nehemiah 9:20” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 53).
As I was studying the book of Nehemiah recently, I was reminded that from the beginning of time, God wanted His chosen people to be filled. Even though they often wandered from Him, He still kept extending His arm of mercy and love.
“Even when they made for themselves a calf of molten metal and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up from Egypt,’ and committed great blasphemies, You, in Your great compassion, did not forsake them in the wilderness; The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day, to guide them on their way, nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go. You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, and You gave them water for their thirst. Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want; Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell” (Nehemiah 9:18-21, NASB).
What a powerful reminder of how far God will go to win our hearts back to Him.
Jeremiah 31:3 tells us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness” (NASB).
Are we responding to His call? Are we receptive to the showers of blessing, or are we ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts?
Inspiration tells us, “Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it” (Last Day Events, p. 195, 196).
Many of us have received undeserved showers of blessing throughout our lives. However, if we are unrepentant of our stubborn and disobedient ways, if we do not respond to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, these showers will not continue forever. When the Latter Rain is poured out, it might be poured out on those around us, but we will be unaware. Lord, have mercy, that we will not be among this latter group.
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Heavenly Father, forgive us for taking these showers of blessing for granted for so long. You have given us years of probation, years of time to repent and draw close to You in true, full-hearted surrender, and still we continue to walk proudly and stubbornly in our self-sufficient ways. Forgive us, Lord! We recognize that time is running out. We cannot ignore Your grace much longer, or it will be forever too late. Help us to embrace the Early Rain, and prepare us to be receptive to the Latter Rain. We don’t want to miss out! Take all traces of self from our lives. Remove from our hearts all idols, all golden calves, and anything else that we are trusting in. Make us vessels fit for Your Kingdom. Fill us with Your Spirit, we pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
By Kat Taylor
(To read the convicting devotional,”Do I have a beam in my eye?” by Kat, click here.)