Name of God - Elohay Selichot: The God Who is Ready to Forgive
Daily Verse: “They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them,”
☆ Nehemiah 9:17
Let's Talk About It: “Elohay” is a variation of the Hebrew “El” meaning God. In fact, it is believed to be used to provide emphasis. So used in this context, it would be like us making the letters bold and underlining them. The writer, Nehemiah, was drawing emphasis on God in this portion of scripture. He uses the vocative case which places emphasis on the person the author is speaking about. In this case, while Nehemiah is bringing up the misdeeds and idolatrous ways of the Israelites, the emphasis (and subsequent point of this verse) is on God. Finally, while there are many Hebrew words for God, this word denotes “the true God”.
“Selichot” is Hebrew for forgiveness. It can also mean pardon. According to Webster’s dictionary, “pardon” means to be released from penalty, remission for punishment, or absolution. When we look further into the meaning of absolution, we find that it means setting free from guilt, sin, or penalty. In our world, when someone is arrested, they go to court and find out what their charges are. In many cases, having a lawyer can have the charges lessened or dropped. However, the record of the arrest is still evidenced when a background check is done on said individual. The only way to have that information removed is to have the record expunged. Absolution is like having your record expunged. It is as if it never even happened.
That is the kind of forgiveness Nehemiah is speaking about here. In our minds, when we forgive, we still remember the violation, hurt, betrayal, etc., but thank God His mind isn’t like ours. The Bible says that once we are forgiven by God, He forgets the offense entirely (Psalm 103:12). In His mind, and as far as He is concerned, it is as if it never occurred in the first place. This is how we are forgiven or pardoned by the Almighty.
The Israelites struggled to maintain their pardon because many times they turned back around and committed the same sinful act. True repentance leads to a change in direction or behavior and can only be accomplished by the strength of God which we receive when we make Jesus Lord of our lives. While there is grace, unlike the hyper-grace movement suggests and contrary to what Paul teaches in His epistles, grace is not poured out so that we can live however we want. We must be obedient to and walk in the will of God.
Do you struggle with shame, guilt, or regrets because of the life you lived before you had restored relationship with God? Do you get down on yourself for not living up to the standard set by perfection? I have good news for you! God has forgiven you if you’ve surrendered your life to Christ. He doesn’t even remember what you’ve done. It has been removed as far as the east is from the west. I encourage you to forgive yourself, understanding that the old you has died and the new creation now lives (2 Cor. 5:17). You are not your former self. You don’t have to live under the weight of guilt and shame. Hallelujah, you are forgiven!