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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 9:32-37 (ESV)

Posted on November 11, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 9:32-37 (ESV) - “Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly. Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them. Even in their own kingdom, and amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and rich land that you set before them, they did not serve you or turn from their wicked works. Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress.

Question to consider: When would the prayer of the people be answered and their slavery end?

People will talk about the “infinite” patience, mercy and love of God. I have always contended that while God Himself is everlasting, His patience, mercy and love are not. They are, however, perfect. For instance, God’s love is demonstrated in giving His one and only Son to pay the penalty for our sins and clothe us in His righteousness. God does not love sin, and those who reject the Son will one day understand the judgment of God instead of His love. Because of God’s love, He offers us His mercy. However, mercy is a gift, not an obligation, and we therefore never presume upon it or express anything other than gratitude for it.

What we call patience is literally translated “long-suffering”. God is willing to suffer a long time for people to repent and turn to Him, but there is a point in which God gives someone over to their sin, and His willingness to suffer comes to an end. Our willingness to suffer for the actions of another is significantly shorter than that of God because we can only speculate on the heart of an individual or what the outcome will be of our continued suffering. Think for a moment if you were stuck in a long line of traffic. Would it help you to endure the situation if you knew that God allowed the traffic jam in order to save someone from a fatal accident? How much would you be willing to suffer if you knew that it specifically turned the hearts of people you love to Christ? When Paul wrote that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28 NIV) he had in mind this idea that our suffering is being used by God for a noble purpose such as this.

Today’s passage described a moment in which God’s long-suffering bore fruit in Israel. The people recognized that all of God’s actions toward them from the beginning of time were done out of His steadfast love. What started as a few individuals like Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah praying for the sins of the people according to God’s promise in Leviticus 26, had now burst forth from the surviving nation with a desire to be reconciled to Him. God promised that He would, “for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 26:45)

While God had remembered His covenant with them, there was still an air of sadness, for though they had restored the city and temple, they were still a slave state to the king of Persia. They appealed to God’s mercy to restore them to their former glory, but unfortunately, after the Persians, it would be the Greeks and then the Romans who ruled over them. Daniel was actually given a vision about all of these kingdoms ruling over Israel so this should not have been a surprise the them, but in Daniel’s vision, there would one day come a ruler, “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:14)


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for answering their prayers even though it took another 400 years before their time of slavery would end, and Christ would take His everlasting throne. Help us to find our rest in the rule of Christ even though we live in a world that curses His throne. We look forward to the day when our King returns to judge the living and the dead. Amen.