Overview of Activities
Not long after the Feast of Tabernacles, the people focused again on their failings before God. This time of repentance included fasting, reading the Law, and confessing their sins, all leading up to a renewed commitment to keep the covenant as shown in chapter 10.
Israel’s History of Rebellion & God’s Mercy
This prayer highlights Israel’s transgressions and God’s patience. It begins with praise for God as the Creator and Sovereign of the universe (9:5, 6). The prayer goes on to note:
- God’s selection & fulfilled promise to Abraham (9:7, 8)
- God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt (9:9-12)
- God’s gift of the Law at Sinai (9:13, 14)
- God’s daily care for their needs while in the desert (9:15)
- God’s mercy in spite of Israel’s rebellion (9:16-21)
- God’s gift of the land of Canaan (9:22-25)
- God’s mercy in spite of Israel’s rebellion (9:26-31)
Note that the prayer acknowledges two of the three promises God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. The nation promise was fulfilled in the exodus and giving of the Law. The land promise was fulfilled in Israel’s conquering of Canaan.
The last section of the prayer shifts away from Israel’s history to the present generation. They note God was just and faithful in His dealings with them though they suffered the consequences of sin to that day—saying they were in “great distress.” This is an appeal to God for mercy and help in their time of need.