“They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.” Nehemiah 9:17 (ESV)
The company of people in this passage, had resisted the wonderful and miraculous acts God had done for them. After 400 years as slaves in Egypt, God freed them and led them out from under Egyptian oppression. But the Children of Israel were stubborn, stiff-necked and rejected God’s plan. Where He might have said, “Alright then, go your way and be damned for all I care.” Or, perhaps, “I did all this for you and this is how you show thanks and appreciation to Me?” But God is not like that. God forgives graciously and shows mercy. He doesn’t lose His temper and his love toward us is unfailing. God does not forsake us when we refuse to remember what He has done to rescue us from death and eternal separation from Him. And fail to acknowledge what He does for us each day. The list of what God did for Israel is long as is the failures in response. Even when we idolize someone or something other than God, He does not forsake us in our wildernesses. Great promises should encourage us to remain faithful by the grace He gives us.