From Nehemiah's Journal
Since that time, I traveled to Jerusalem, oversaw the rebuilding of the walls, took care of a few bullies, and am now working with the prophet Ezra to train the people in the Law of Moses.
Because this is the seventh month, we are celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles by living in tents. This helps us remember what our fathers lived through when they escaped Egypt.
The Levites are leading us in a time of prayer, praise, and confession to the God who loves us. This is worth your reading. The words show: no matter how many times we fail, God will always be with us, take care of us, and love us. Here is the first part of what the Levite leaders said:
"Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.
Blessed be your glorious name, exalted above all blessing and praise!
You’re the one, God, you alone.
You made the heavens, the heavens of heavens,
and all angels the earth and everything on it, the seas and everything in them.
You keep them all alive. Heaven’s angels worship you!
You’re the one, God, the God who chose Abram
and brought him from Ur of the Chaldees and changed his name to Abraham.
You found his heart to be steady and true to you and signed a covenant with him,
a covenant to give him the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, and the Amorites,
The Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites,—to give it to his descendants.
And you kept your word because you are righteous.
You saw the anguish of our parents in Egypt. You heard their cries at the Red Sea.You amazed Pharaoh, his servants, and the people of his land with wonders and miracle-signs.
You knew their bullying arrogance against your people.
You made a name for yourself that lasts to this day.
You split the sea before them. They crossed through and never got their feet wet.
You pitched their pursuers into the deep. They sank like a rock in the storm-tossed sea.
By day you led them with a Pillar of Cloud,
and by night with a Pillar of Fire to show them the way they were to travel.
You came down onto Mount Sinai. You spoke to them out of heaven.
You gave them instructions on how to live well, true teaching, sound rules and commands.
You introduced them to your Holy Sabbath.
Through your servant Moses you decreed commands, rules, and instruction.
You gave bread from heaven for their hunger. You sent water from the rock for their thirst.
You told them to enter and take the land, which you promised to give them.
But they, our ancestors, were arrogant. Bullheaded. They wouldn’t obey your commands.
They turned a deaf ear, they refused to remember the miracles you had done for them.
They turned stubborn, got it into their heads to return to their Egyptian slavery.
And you, a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, incredibly patient, with tons of love—
You didn’t dump them. Yes, even when they cast a sculpted calf and said, “This is your god who brought you out of Egypt,” and continued from bad to worse,
You in your amazing compassion didn’t walk off and leave them in the desert.
The Pillar of Cloud didn’t leave them. Daily it continued to show them their route.
The Pillar of Fire did the same by night, showed them the right way to go.
You gave them your good Spirit to teach them to live wisely.
You never stinted with your manna, gave them plenty of water to drink.
You supported them forty years in that desert. They had everything they needed.
Their clothes didn’t wear out and their feet never blistered.
You gave them kingdoms and peoples, establishing generous boundaries.
They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan.
You multiplied children for them, rivaling the stars in the night skies, and you brought them into the land that you promised their ancestors they would get and own."
sources: New International Version, New King James Version, The Message (MSG)