Reading through the book of Nehemiah, I noticed a trend of prayers that Nehemiah prayed to God asking God to remember what he has done for His Name and also for Israel. Listed four occasions when he prayed that. I have listened to much gospel centered sermons by some big names too, they have always told me that we can never remind what we have done for God and hence to remember to bless us, because that’s moralistic. That’s against the spirit of the gospel of grace when everything we have achieved is really by the grace of God. My thesis is that we can never brag about what we have done to justify God saving us, I call it the pre justification phase. Redemption can never be earned by our efforts of morality, except by faith and faith alone in Christ. That’s a given. However, we can remind God what we have done for His Name after the justification phase, or salvation phase, going into the sanctification phase, we can certainly tell God what we have sacrificed and stayed committed to serve Him, and ask him to bless us. Well, take a look at Nehemiah:
Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people
Nehemiah 5: 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.19 Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people.
Nehemiah asked God to remember him with favor, for all that he has done for the people of Israel. He was kind to Israel; he didn’t demand good supply of food and wine from them on a daily basis because they are heavy on them. He never demanded the governor’s portion from his people even though he was entitled.
So he did this out of love for the people of Israel, and he therefore asked God to remember him with favor, for what he has sacrificed and done for Israel. That’s totally biblical because God accepted that. Is that counter gospel centeredness? No. Why? Because that’s after he became a Christian in the OT sense. He didn’t use this to demand or negotiate God’s salvation. He’s already saved. He’s in sanctification mode.
Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.
Nehemiah 13: 12 All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil into the storerooms. 13 I put Shemaiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites. 14 Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.
He asked God to remember him for his setting up manpower for the house of God, and asked that God will not blot out what he has faithfully done for the house of God and its services. This can be interpreted as not blotting what he has done, to bless his labor of love for the house of God. Like us today, that we ask God to remember our labor of love for his house, the church, in our service unto the Lord. That God may bless us with in our labor.
Remember me for this also, my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.
Nehemiah 13: 22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember me for this also, my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.
This is probably so easily understood to glow in the gospel centeredness, because is according to God’s great love.
Remember me with favor, my God.
Nehemiah 13: 30 So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. 31 I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the first fruits. Remember me with favor, my God.
He asked God to remember him with favor. All good, and we should not be shy to ask God to remember us with favor. All biblical.