Éleos is Greek for “mercy” as it is defined by loyalty to God’s covenant; pity; compassion. God’s éleos is stunning, and the Book of Nehemiah highlights it along with our need for a Savior and the lengths He goes to prove His love and mercy to us.
In Nehemiah 9:6, the people begin praising the Lord, rehearsing all the wonderful things He did from Abram to the present, beautifully recounting the mercy of the Lord.
Then in verse 16, their prayer takes a turn. “But our ancestors acted arrogantly; they became stiff-necked and did not listen to Your commands. They refused to listen and did not remember Your wonders You performed among them” (vv. 16-17a).
Lord, let us be always mindful of Your wonders. May we never stray from the enthralling works of Your hands.
“They became stiff-necked and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt” (v. 17b).
Whoa. They wanted to return to slavery, to their chains. To the exhausting labor and endless yelling by evil taskmasters.
So often, we tend to go back to our chains, seeking comfort in the lies and endless labors of Satan and our old life. May God’s wonders captivate and capture our hearts so much that our idols and old life would lose all appeal, that our allegiance would remain with the One who broke our chains, not the one who bound us in them.
We’re reminded in Nehemiah 9:17 that God is ready to forgive, “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in faithful love.” His mercy never ceases. God responded in unfathomable mercy to the Israelites even after their sins, disobedience, defiance, and rebellion. And He does the same for us when we repent and believe His truths.
Our God is beautiful and rich in éleos. How can we not serve and follow this great King who loves us so much that He takes pity on us, extending compassion and steadfast love to us, even after we rebel and set up countless idols in our hearts?
SOPHIE MCDONALD is a graduate of Murray State University and the assistant editor of Real Truth Matters Magazine. Her primary aim is the fulfillment of the Great Commission and a life drenched in holiness.