There was a shooting in my neighborhood last week. A young man is dead. Blame and accusation lay close by. Lots of citizens have worked hard to speak truthfully while maintaining peace. All the same, I can feel sides taking shape. Who shall we blame? There is a state-run investigation and we all will have to wait for the full evidence of what happened to become public record.
I was thinking of an entirely different situation in the scriptures. But when Nehemiah heard of the broken down walls of Jerusalem, although he lived safely in the far distance, he was captured by the need to pray and lament the condition of his people, the people of Abraham. After some days of lamenting, he prayed. I have only highlighted words to show who Nehemiah blamed.
“O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants,confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. 8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord,let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Nehemiah 1:5-11