“Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:”
God’s people had spent seventy years in captivity in Babylon. Nehemiah led one of the expeditions to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. After the lengthy and difficult building program, the walls were complete. The people then assembled as the Word of God was being read. For several weeks this continued. Hours each day were spent hearing the book of the law of God and several hours a day were spent in confession. In Nehemiah 9, the Levites stood up and began a lengthy recollection of God’s dealings with His people, beginning with the creation. They remembered the call of Abraham, their deliverance from Egypt, the giving of the law at Sinai, the provision of manna and water out of the rock. They confessed how the people had repeatedly disobeyed, making a molten calf, rebelling against the prophets, and resisting God’s commands, which eventually led to their captivity.
Our text today is a part of the lengthy confession that was made to God. “Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly.” This is an important part of anyone seriously getting things right before God and preparing for revival. They were willing to admit that God was right and they were wrong. The Israelites had consistently turned away from God’s will. Many times they had suffered accordingly. They were now back in the land God had promised them, after spending decades in exile. A thorough time of confession and repentance was in order. They proclaimed that God was “just in all that is brought upon us.”
There is a great difference between admitting that our correction is just, which they acknowledged, and complaining about God’s dealings with us. Sometimes when chastisement comes, people choose to question God’s actions, as though He is somehow at fault. The Levites in so many words were saying, “We had it coming.” They declared to God, “thou has done right, but we have done wickedly.” Why is it so hard for us to sincerely admit when we are wrong? Without this honest confession and repentance, there can be no revival. Blaming our sin on others will not bring God’s blessings, but heartfelt personal confession will.