Summary: ‘Amazing Grace!’ - Nehemiah chapter 9 verses 1-38 – sermon by Gordon Curley (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email


(1). Confession: it was a time to get right with God. (vs 1-2):

(2). Adoration: it was a time to worship God. (vs 3-5).

(3). Reflection: it was a time to learn from past mistakes (vs 6-37)

(4). Commitment: it was a time to move forward with God (vs 38).




• Question: How many gallons of water are in the ocean?

• Answer: 343 quintillion gallons

• Question: How many stars are in the known universe?

• Answer: 1 billion trillion stars in the observable universe!

• Question: How many grains of sand are in the world?

• Answer: Seven quintillion five hundred quadrillion grains of sand.

• TRANSITION: Even if these answers are incorrect,

• Here is my point: God’s grace is bigger than all these numbers!

• So big you cannot measure it!

• It is often described this way,

• Quote: “Grace is the unmerited favour of God.”

• I like this description,

• Quote: “Grace is everything for nothing to those who don’t deserve anything”

• Grace is where God shows us mercy, kindness, and patience,

• Instead of the judgment that we deserve for rebelling & sinning against him.

• God's grace cannot be earned by our actions or sincerity.

• It cannot be lost by our rebellion or sin.

• Grace is based on the character of God

• And not on our sincerity, performance, or ability to keep the law of God.

• Otherwise, grace would not be grace.


• I recently described it this way in a sermon,

• With a very delicate flower, the first hint of frost will kill it.

• Grace is so delicate if we try adding anything to it, then it dies! It is no longer grace.

• TRANSITION: Out title this morning is, ‘Amazing Grace’

• And we will see that illustrated in chapter 9 of the book of Nehemiah.

• God’s amazing grace towards his people.

We are picking up the story in chapter 9:

• Verse 1 tells us the people ‘gathered together’.

• So, this was a public event, the people gathered to worship God.

• We noted in our last study these folks were not in a hurry,

• And we see that again in verse 3.

“They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day and spent another quarter in confession and in worshipping the Lord their God.”

• According to the experts, a quarter of a day was three hours.

• That is literally a quarter of twelve hours, not 24 hours.

• Referring to twelve hours of daylight in which they worked.

• So, this tells us that the people experienced a six-hour service.

• Three hours of preaching followed by three hours of praying.

• So, if you think I tend to go on a bit!

• Just be glad you are reading about this service and not actually attending it!

• Note: I think the point of these long services in the book of Nehemiah,

• Is that having returned back to Jerusalem, their spiritual home.

• These people were hungry for God and could not get enough of him.


• The French have a proverb, which states,

• “A good meal ought to begin with hunger.”

• It is hard to enjoy a meal when you are not yet hungry.

• But, when you are hungry, anything tastes good.

• TRANSITION: These people were hungry for God and could not get enough of him.

• So, the people endured(?), enjoyed(?), certainly experienced a six-hour service.

• Three hours of preaching followed by three hours of praying.

• Now, the chapter divides into four sections,

• With the first section being…

(1). Confession: it was a time to get right with God. (vs 1-2):

“On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. places and confessed their sins and the wickedness of their fathers.”


• Beverly Sills was for many years the general director of the New York opera,

• But the stresses and the pressures of the job took a toll on her health.

• She ballooned into obesity. She wrote:

"It made me sick to look at myself. I'd reached the point where I didn't want to have my clothes made anymore. It was too embarrassing. So, I ordered everything from catalogues."

• Eventually Beverly Sills was forced to face the problem.

• She said, "I woke up one day and realized I was really ill."

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