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What Do You Observe?

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Psalm 107:8-9
What Do You Observe? Book Cover

Today, let’s look at two different passages from the historical and poetic books and put inductive study into practice again.

Studying History and Poetry

When studying the history section of the Bible, we will find that names and numbers do more than just contribute to historical records. Oftentimes, they tie into the themes of a chapter or book. As we seek to interpret these books, it is important to note any of these recurring and significant facts

When studying the poetry books, we should remember that the genre has its own characteristics and rules. Knowing these can help us arrive at a richer and more accurate interpretation.

Observe: Nehemiah 1:5–6; Psalm 107:8–9

We discover from the context of Nehemiah 1 that Nehemiah is addressing the Lord in prayer. In the previous verses of the chapter, Nehemiah has gotten distressing news that the Jews who had returned from exile were not doing well. Additionally, the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and the city gates were destroyed by a fire. Upon hearing this distressing news, Nehemiah wept and mourned for days. He also fasted and prayed. Verses 5–11 give the content of what he prayed.

From our text in verses 5 and 6, a portion of Nehemiah’s prayer, we learn, through observation, that God is great, he is the God of the heavens, and he keeps his covenant with those who love him and keep his commandments. In verse 6, Nehemiah prays on behalf of the Israelites, himself, and his family. He confesses the sins of them all.

What other things can we observe in verses 5 and 6?

In Psalm 107, the psalmist is speaking to a group of people, the redeemed, and extolling them to give thanks unto the Lord. He gives them reasons to thank the Lord: because of his unwavering love, his wonderful works, and because he satisfies the longing and hungry person with good things.

What else do we observe in the passage? Are there any poetic forms that immediately jump out to us?


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Daily Question

As we begin to interpret the passages, how do we understand these verses in light of their contexts? Once we have done our due diligence to arrive at an interpretation that is consistent with the context and agrees with the rest of Scripture, we are ready for application.

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Comments (10)

The context for the Nehemiah verse is: Nehemiah is mourning and praying for God to forgive their sins after learning that the Jews were not doing well. The context for the Psalms is that the psalmist is speaking to a group of people, the redeemed and extolling them to give thanks to the Lord. I don’t see any other context on my own other than what was already given to us in the paragraphs above.

In the case of Nehemiah, the Jews were not doing well and Jerusalem was invaded. Nehemiah sounded more like a reminder for the Jews to obey God as he prayed, “the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments”. The psalmist was more like teaching the redeemed about how to make thanksgiving to God.

For the scriptures from Nehemiah, when put into context I see these verses as an act of surrender and repentance. He is surrendering God’s will and asking for forgiveness for the people of Isreal so that they can turn away from what they have done to do what God had called them to do.

From the scriptures in Psalm, I see that God is the one who can replenish our souls. These scriptures remind us who our help truly comes from and that we should look to Him for that strength when needed. Thanking Him for now and declaring His provision in the future.

I find it amazing how quickly God forgives us when we don’t obey “because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:11-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
The same setance They cried to the LORD and HE saved them. We feel we can’t be forgiven because of our wicked ways, but as soon as we repent TRUELY repent HE forgives!
The same in Nehemiah : “but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬
He immediately forgives! No waiting

Nehemiah is praying to an all powerful, faithful and loving God concerning His sinful children [including Nehemiah] and their desperate need for God’s help. He is acknowledging both the goodness of God and the failures of His children to honor the covenant with their Father – as he begins his partition for help.

In Psalms, the model is of one who is thankful to God…not only for what He is to him but for what He is in the lives of others as well. These verses especially indicate His providing for those hungry and thirsty – maybe for food and drink or could also be a filling for the soul.

Nehemiah, I see it showing me to surrender and remember to pray for myself and others even without them asking.
Psalms is a reminder whom to give thanks to and of His love for us.

In the verses from Nehemiah, we see his prayer is in response to the news of Jerusalem bring in ruins. This was his home and he’s distressed about what he’s hearing. His response is to cry out to God.

I think for the verses in Nehemiah to understand the verses in light of their context it’s really just depicting a man who understands the greatness and the authority of God. He is simply a man who knows to go to the father for forgiveness and guidance ahead.
for Psalms 107, to understand the verse in the light of its context I believe it’s just a sum of true Thanksgiving and understanding how good and loving God is.

In the context Nehemiah is asking for the Israelite forgiveness because they were not doing well. they had disobeyed God. In psalms he is extolling the redeemed to give thanks for what the Lord had done for them.

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