THERE’S ONLY ONE WHO HEARS OUR CRY by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson
You can either look at your past with confusion or you can look at your past with confidence. Either you can look at your past as a victim or you can look at your past as a victor. It all comes down to how you see God in your past.
Nehemiah 9:3-8 3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one–fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God….this is what they said 9 “You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, And heard their cry by the Red Sea. 10 You showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, Against all his servants, And against all the people of his land. For You knew that they acted proudly against them. So You made a name for Yourself, as it is this day. 11 And You divided the sea before them, So that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; And their persecutors You threw into the deep, As a stone into the mighty waters. 12 Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, And by night with a pillar of fire, To give them light on the road Which they should travel. Overall Background: After rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem and celebrating the various feasts, the Jewish people gathered together for a worship service, which is recorded in Nehemiah 9. The entire Nehemiah 9 takes only about 10 minutes to read but it was a six-hour long worship service. The first three hours were spent reading the Bible and the next three hours were spent confessing their sins before God. These Jewish people had come back to God. They were already saved, as we would say today. But now they were repenting for all the junk they had wrongly believed and done against God. Application: In the same way, real repentance in the Christian life happens after we are saved. When we are saved, the only thing that we can repent of is what we thought of God and about His Son, Jesus Christ. But after we are saved, God the Holy Spirit begins the process of cleaning us of all the junk that we have believed and done in our lives. One by one He brings sins to the surface in our lives and we see our true self in the light of His Holiness. That’s when real repentance happens. II Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” You have to be His people first. This morning if you are lost, you need to be saved. If you are saved, let the Holy Spirit bring you to repentance over your sins. So far these Jewish people had repented of three very important sins and made three very important confessions before God. First, “You Alone are God;” Second, “You Alone are the Creator;” Third, “There is Only One Plan of Salvation.” Now we come to the fourth repentance and confession – “There’s Only One Who Hears Our Cry.” Three questions come again. I. WHY DID THEY MAKE THIS CONFESSION? TO BREAK THE CHAIN OF VICTIM MENTALITY Not only that but the Pharaoh also gave orders that every male child was to be thrown into the crocodile infested Nile River. Can you picturethat? Exodus 2:23 says, “Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning.” What is interesting is that in those two verses four different Hebrew words are used to describe their groaning! This was a time of intense suffering for the Hebrew people. This was a time of intense doubt for them. They were asking – “Where was God when our father or brother or son were being whipped to death? Where was God when my baby was being thrown to the crocodiles? This was a time of utter hopelessness for them. They asked the age old question – “Where is God When Bad Things Happen?” Throughout their history the Jewish people had that question in their mind and heart – “Why did God allow that to happen?” Many of them had allowed their past to control them and make them angry, bitter, and discouraged.Background: In making this confession, these Jewish people were going back exactly 1000 years to 1445BC – the time of the Exodus – to the time when their ancestors were slaves in the land of Egypt. This was a time of horrible suffering for the Hebrews. The new king of Egypt did not know Joseph and he was afraid that the Hebrews would take over. So he began to persecute them and he set taskmasters over them. He made them build supply cities for Pharaoh. Exodus 1:14 says, “And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.” The word for rigor means harshness and severity. They were trying to break their spirit.Listen to this confession once again – 9 “You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt.” Application: Many of us this morning have been through such times of groaning. Through no fault of your own, you have been through a time of intense suffering. Maybe it was abuse as a child; maybe it was abandonment by a parent; maybe it was a harsh/cruel parent; maybe it was a broken marriage; maybe it was a health issue; maybe it was a loss of job or some other crisis. You cried and groaned but nobody heard you. For e.g. Throughout my life and ministry I have come across people who have been through suffering in life. It usually manifests itself in explosive tempers, cynical attitudes, and even depression. Satan knows how to use this against the believer. Unless you see your past through the lens of the grace of God, you will remain chained to your past. Listen to their confession once again – 9 “You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt.” Meaning: God was not blind; He wasn’t absent; He did not fail. By the way, I mentioned earlier that 4 different words are used to describe the affliction of the Hebrews. Did you know that 4 different words are used to describe God’s response to them? Exodus 2:24-25 24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them. Application: How do you view your past? As a victim, martyr, poor me. This morning begin by acknowledging that God was there. He heard it; He saw it; He acknowledged it. That’s exactly what these Jewish people in Nehemiah’s time were doing. They were breaking the chain of their past and acknowledging the hand of God. Not only that but they went a step ahead and said that God also “heard their cry by the Red Sea.” II. HOW DID THEY VIEW GOD IN THEIR SUFFERING? ACTIVE AND INCHARGE
Background: Instead of dwelling on the past and going on and on about the suffering of their Hebrew ancestors in Egypt, they turn to talking about the hand of God in their lives.Listen to verse 10 You showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh.
There is a philosophy that is prevalent in our culture and has been for sometime that the more you talk about your problem, the better you will feel. There is some truth to it. There is a place for us to talk about our pain. There is some healing in sharing each other’s burden. Gal 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” And again, Col 3:12-13 12 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another.” The Jewish people did not stop at burden sharing but went on to talk about the goodness and the power of God. Listen again to verse 10 You showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, Against all his servants, And against all the people of his land. For You knew that they acted proudly against them. Meaning: God was not silent in the face of the suffering of His people. Altogether He did 10 wonders – each one directed against a particular deity of Egypt. He did some incredible wonders that completely shut down the land of Egypt. He shook the confidence of Pharaoh, his leaders, and the people of Egypt. Some people try to take matters into their own hands. They try to payback. Romans 12:19-20 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Here’s the principle: Let God handle those who have hurt you and you will actually feel sorry for them and pray for them. He is the Ultimate Father, who stands on behalf of His children. But, if you handle them, then you are on your own. Not only that but as you see God’s hand in your past, He will expose you to His great plans. Listen to the last line of verse 10 – So You made a name for Yourself, as it is this day. 11 And You divided the sea before them, So that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; And their persecutors You threw into the deep, As a stone into the mighty waters. God used the suffering of the Jewish people to glorify Himself in the presence of the Egyptians. Application: Your suffering can either be a waste of time or they can be God’s opportunity to magnify His self. I have a book titled – “Don’t waste your sorrows. III. HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO ME? HE PROMISES TO WALK WITH US AND LEAD US.
12 Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, And by night with a pillar of fire, To give them light on the road Which they should travel. Background: God not only freed them from the bondage of Egypt but He also led them by His own presence both night and day. He gave them physical environmental phenomenon to remind them of His presence. There are many ways you can handle your pain and affliction from your past: – Some people take it out on others. There is always an enemy to fight. – Some people throw themselves a pity party. It is a sin. – Some people give up on God. Instead, if you are willing, you will realize that He has always been there for you. I want to read you a letter from a friend. Some of you might have gotten the letter and already read it. Here it is: “I just had to write to tell you how much I love you and care for you. Yesterday, I saw you walking and laughing with your friends. I hoped that soon you’d want Me to walk along with you, too. So, I painted you a sunset to close your day and whispered a cool breeze to refresh you. I waited, you never called. I just kept on loving you. As I watched you fall asleep last night, I wanted so much to touch you. I spilled moonlight onto your face, trickling down your cheeks as so many tears have. You didn’t even thank of Me. I wanted so much to comfort you. The next day I exploded a brilliant sunrise into glorious morning for you. But you woke up late and rushed off to work, you didn’t even notice. My sky became cloudy and My tears were the rain. I love you. Oh, if you’d only listen. I really love you. I try to say it in the quiet of the green meadow and in the blue sky. The wind whispers My love throughout the treetops and spills it into the vibrant colors of all the flowers. I shout it to you in the thunder of the great waterfalls and compose love songs for birds to sing for you. I warm you with the clothing of My sunshine and perfume the air with nature’s sweet scent. My love for you is deeper than any ocean and greater than any need in your heart. If you’d only realize how I care. I died just for you. My Dad sends His love. I want you to meet Him. He cares, too. Fathers are just that way. So, please call on Me soon. No matter how long it takes, I’ll wait, because I love you. Your Friend, Jesus Jesus said in Matthew 28:20 “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Do you know Him? Do you trust Him?