Returning to God

Joel Plantinga

READ : Nehemiah 8:1-9

. . . all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. (v. 6)

One of my life’s spiritual markers was a men’s rally at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City where over 50,000 men were singing “How Great Thou Art” in unison. My soul was stirred in the presence of so many men worshiping God together. There is undoubtedly a critical mass when so many people come together that lends power to the experience of renewal. I felt I was changed forever. Yet a few months later I found I had returned to many of my old behaviors. Had I truly experienced God?

Can you imagine the chills that went through the people at this moment in their history when they gathered for their first assembly under Ezra’s leadership? This was a great moment of thanksgiving for a people who had gone through so much together. The satisfaction in Nehemiah’s spirit was tempered by his desire for more obedience to God. Returning to God would consist of much more than an emotional gathering. The test of faith was yet to come, even though this was an exciting experience for the people.

Be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit and respond with all your mind and strength, as well as heart and soul.


Almighty God, move in the lives of your people. Amen.