Nehemiah 1:8-9 – “Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.”
Nehemiah, serving in the palace of the King of Persia, had been informed of the deplorable condition of Jerusalem and his people. His heart was broken, and the immediate response was to pray with fasting, beseeching God for mercy and help. God’s people were in bondage as a direct result of their disobedience and rebellion. The Scripture records Nehemiah’s prayer. We hear Nehemiah as he is reminding God of His promise to restore His people when they genuinely turn to Him in repentance. What a merciful God that we serve! He is willing to forgive and to revive when He sees the heart that is truly repentant.
Repentance is vitally important and powerful as it has a profound influence on the one doing the repenting. We know that we do not have the power to effect lasting change in our weak and sinful constitution. We need God’s help in a real way. Repentance includes a change of mind or attitude about our sin. When we are willing to admit we are wrong and regret the sinful way we have lived, it will have an influence on our attitudes and decisions.
Repentance also influences God. God declares in His Word that He is compelled to move in the heart of the penitent. Psalm 51:17 says, “… a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” True repentance influences us, but it also influences God.
Also, our repentance will impact others. Nehemiah reminded God of His promise: that if His people were scattered and divided, but would turn to Him in repentance, He would cause them to be delivered and restored. When there is sincere repentance, others will be affected.