Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day.Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly: neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works. Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: and it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it. – Nehemiah 9:32-38
I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding how holy God truly is. Just because we think we are doing well because we have turned away from a few sins, does not mean that we deserve the blessing of God. If He chooses to bless us, it is because of His manifold mercy, not our righteousness. Consider this:
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. – Mark 10:18
Our best course when we find ourselves out of the way is to turn back to God in full confession. He knows all. Therefore, we should confess all. He is the Sovereign God of glory. Therefore, we should submit ourselves to Him as servants.
As often as we see the mercy of God in our lives, we should repent of our sins, and dedicate ourselves once again to His service. And remember, we are not bowing in submission in order to live a depressed life. True devotion to the Lord brings joy because He has mercy on those that seek His face.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey. – John H. Sammis
Rather than seeing the morality of God as a hinderance to our joy, we should realize that it is our faithfulness to Him that brings us true and lasting joy.
There is a story about a kite that was flying high in the sky on a beautiful Spring afternoon. The kite saw a field of lovely flowers and decided that he want to fly over them and may be drop down for a closer look to enjoy the flowers. He fought and fought against the string but could not move toward the field of flowers. Finally, he fought hard enough to break the string. He thought, “I’m free from that old string that was preventing me from having fun!” The kite soon tumbled to the ground far from the field he had hoped to visit.
The little boy who was flying the kite came over, fixed the broken pieces of the kite, and tied the string to it once again. The boy tossed the kite back up into the sky and it soared into the beautiful Spring sky once again. It was at that moment that the kite realized that the string (and the boy holding it) were not robbing him of joy. The string, under the control of the boy, is what was causing him to fly high in liberty in the sky.