|Episcopal Church in Minnesota|
Environmental Stewardship Commission
Year A, Easter 4, Old Testament Lesson
Nehemiah 9: 6-15
Ezra said: "You are the LORD, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you. You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham; and you found his heart faithful before you, and made with him a covenant to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite; and you have fulfilled your promise, for you are righteous.
"And you saw the distress of our ancestors in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea. You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted insolently against our ancestors. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. And you divided the sea before them, so that they passed through the sea on dry land, but you threw their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. Moreover, you led them by day with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the way in which they should go. You came down also upon Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made known your holy sabbath to them and gave them commandments and statutes and a law through your servant Moses. For their hunger you gave them bread from heaven, and for their thirst you brought water for them out of the rock, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you swore to give them."
Reflection on Nehemiah 9:
by John Gibbs, Ph D
"Becoming People Who Are Safe for the World" (Sheep of the Shepherd)
Ezra's confession of faith in God says for the community as a whole much of what Psalm 23 says for one person. This statement of faith is in 2 parts: the first dealing with God the Creator (v. 6); and the second dealing with God the protector of, and provider for, God's People (vv. 7-15).
The statement, "You are the Lord," introduces each section. God the
Lord made heaven, earth, seas, and all that is in all of them. The same
God the Lord made a "covenant" with Abraham (v. 8), delivered his people
from Egypt, led them through the wilderness, gave them the Decalogue (Ten
Commandments), bread for their hunger, and water for their thirst, and
finally led them "to possess the land" (v. 15). Accordingly, the God of
Creation and the God of Redemption is one and the same God.
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