The Israelites’ cycle of sin and repentance was generational, and the same is true of us. Consider your family of origin—in what ways have the generations before you set you on a path that included sin? How can you take responsibility to break that cycle?
We are most prone to pride and self sufficiency when we are in a season of prosperity. How have you seen this play out in your own life? What does our lack of faithfulness and dependence on God during the good times reveal about our souls?
We all have to face consequences for our sinful choices, even after we turn and come back to God. What does true repentance look like when dealing with those consequences? What is a recent example of repentance in your life?
We can find hope in the truth of the gospel, which is bigger than our past and current sin. How does the gospel apply in a current or recent sin struggle you have? What would it look like for you to imitate Jesus' dependence on the Father?
As the Israelites gather to confess their sins corporately, they begin by exalting God as the Creator and Sustainer of all things. This practice is vital to the act of repentance.
For generations, the Israelites have been in a complex cycle of prosperity, pride, sin, discipline, humility, repentance, forgiveness, and obedience. Every time they fall into sin, God is faithful to discipline and then ultimately restore them when they repent.
We must be particularly mindful of how we handle seasons of prosperity. Our culture makes it very easy for a sense of self-sufficiency, control, and entitlement to creep into our souls.
When we do fall into sin, it’s vital that we quickly recognize God’s discipline, come under his authority, and repent. Only then can he restore our souls.
Genuine repentance means that even though we face consequences from our sins, we are not frustrated or bitter towards God. We must recognize that he is both just and merciful.
Our only hope to break the cycle of sin is to engage the gospel. While we naturally promote and fill ourselves, Jesus did the opposite—he emptied himself, releasing all he had to the Father in order to redeem us.
Scripture: Nehemiah 9:1-37