A true God-sent revival produces a solemn covenant that leads to lasting changes in people's lives.
Jewish leaders drafted a formal declaration of spiritual reform. “Well, for all this we make a written covenant; and in the sealed record are the names of our leaders, our Levites, and our priests” (Nehemiah 9:38).
As a result of their confession of sin and praise to God, they declared, "We make a written agreement." It was a covenant with God.
In chapter ten, follow the names of the signers of the new alliance. The name "Nehemiah the governor" is at the head of the "sealed document." Then follow the names of groups of priests, Levites, leaders and common people.
And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the ministers of the temple, and all who have converted from among the peoples of the land to the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, all those who know and understanding, unite with their kindred, their nobles, and take upon themselves the curse and the oath to walk by the law of God given through Moses the servant of God, and to keep and keep all the commandments our Lord God and his statutes and statutes” (Nehemiah 10:28-29, NASB 1995).
Their obligatory signing of the covenant was to preserve and perpetuate the revival. It covers six important areas of Jewish life and has practical applications to Christian life today.
A COVENANT TO AVOID THE UNIQUE YOKE IN MARRIAGE (10:30)
These people were responding to the Word of God. They based everything on the authority of Scripture.
It is all too easy to follow "herd instincts" or peer pressure and the latest religious fads.
Israel's Gentile neighbors were degenerate, immoral, and idolatrous pagans who sacrificed their children by throwing them alive into Moloch's fiery furnace. Pagan worship practices led to Israel's downfall and captivity in Babylon. It arose out of unfaithfulness to God. People committed spiritual adultery by worshiping their neighbors' false gods.
The people claimed, "We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the earth, nor take their daughters for our sons" (verse 30). The word "peoples" refers to non-Jewish or non-Jewish people.
The Lord God requires His chosen people to worship Him alone. Judges 3:5-8 is an excellent example of when they compromised. “The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters for wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. The children of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God, and served Baalim and Asheroth. Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan. -risataim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cusan-Rishataim eight years. Not a pretty picture, is it? The same truth applies to our day as well.
Tolerance towards everything that is not Christian is on everyone's lips today. You can tolerate anything but Christianity. It is time for the Christian to "come out of the closet" and defend God's justice and Christian values.
Do you follow the latest anti-Christian humanist philosophies and fads? There is a crisis in most evangelical churches because one cannot tell the difference between a true born-again Christian and an unsaved one. We live like the world. With “a kind of selective vision” we worship God on Sunday and live like the pagan world on Monday, but we never realize it. Our spiritual senses are dulled. We are blind to our own actions.
Political correctness has destroyed the beliefs of the Christ-centered Christian life for many people.
How many Christians do not take seriously the plain New Testament teachings found at 2 Corinthians 6:14-17? “Do not associate with unbelievers; for what company has righteousness and evil, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony does Christ have with Belial, or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God “with idols?” For we are the temple of the living God, as God said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people .
There is no guarantee that you will be happy by marrying another believer. However, you have a much better chance than a wedding ring with someone who doesn't have the same family and spiritual values as you.
Home is a priority in God's eyes.
The crucial question is whether I will commit myself to obeying what God has taught me in the Bible. God spoke in His Word; Am I going to submit to her?
A COVENANT TO KEEP THE SABBATH (10:31)
The Mosaic Law declared, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8).
In six days God created heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and created nothing more. God also created us to need rest from our hectic activities.
And as for the peoples of the earth who bring goods or grain for sale on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on the holy days; and we will renounce the harvest of the seventh year and the collection of all debts. (v. 31).
Spiritually it is a picture of the believer learning to rest in God. "For whoever has entered into his rest has also rested from his works, as God did from his" (Hebrews 4:10).
God takes our efforts and uses them to fulfill His eternal purposes.
Sunday is not a day of rest. Christians got a new day. It is the Lord's day. Celebrate the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ. It is a day of rejoicing, worship, witness and celebration of God's work in our lives.
The seventh year teaches us to rest in God's provision (Lev 25:18-22). With provident care, our Sovereign God provides for all our needs (Philippians 4:13, 19; Matthew 6:24-34).
Hudson Taylor lived and served by the principle, "God's work done in God's way will never be exhausted from God's store."
Ray Stedman observed, "God provides our needs if we see the work done His way."
We often wonder how we can meet service expenses. How will God provide for our mission projects in Latin America? The God who knows who we are, knows where we are, and is the God who can touch anyone, anywhere, and let them know where we are and provide for through them. He tells us: "I am your provider!" And he proves it again and again. And with a joyful response, we declare that I saw how God did it!
The Lord knows whom he has chosen, and he always has a backing.
The Lord Jehovah the One who will is all I need. Have you experienced this as true in your life?
The important question is, what do you think God is doing? Where does he work? Does he invite you to join him in what he does? When He does that, He will always provide for something.
We will not be left to our feeble efforts. Jehovah God supplies for his work. We must make ourselves available to Him.
Enter your rest in Him.
IT WAS A COVENANT TO BRING THE TEMPLE OFFERINGS (10:32-34)
The temple tax covered the needs of temple worship.
“We have also pledged ourselves to contribute a third part of a shekel annually for the service of the house of our God: for the showbread, for the grain offering constantly, for the burnt offering constantly, on the Sabbaths, on the new moon, for the appointed times, for the holy things and for the sin offerings, for an atonement for Israel and for all the works of the house of our God. In the same way we cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people for the store of wood to bring to the houses of our fathers to the houses of our fathers to the houses of our God, to bring at appointed times each year burned on the altar of the Lord, O Lord our God, as it is written in the law” (verses 32-34).
The daily sacrifices were a constant reminder that the people of Israel were a redeemed people. They were God's chosen people and now belonged to him.
The bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament prepared God's people for the Lamb of God who would permanently take away the sins of his people. We must remember Christ's great sacrifice for us. Never forget that we are a redeemed people, bought by the blood of Jesus Christ.
“Knowing that you were redeemed from the vain life you inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like gold or silver, but with precious blood, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot, the blood of Christ” (11 Cor :18-19).
THE COVENANT PROMISE TO BRING THE FIRST FRUITS TO GOD (10:35-37)
The law stipulated that God should first receive whatever was consecrated to Him (Exodus 13:11-16).
The law of the firstfruits taught the chosen people to recognize Yahweh's property and the right to claim their lives. He asked the question: Am I different from the rest of the world?
The firstborn of every house, land and flock belonged to God. All life is a gift from God who owns everything.
The Apostle Paul applied this great truth in 1 Corinthians 1:19-20. Every believer needs to remind himself daily, “You are not your own; you were bought with a price.” God owns you. He has the right to your life. We are not masters of ourselves.
What a contrast Christianity is to the secular humanistic world system. The worldview is: "You own your own. You own your body. If you get pregnant and you don't want the baby, you can kill it because you have the right to do with your body what you want." Christianity says, “No, you don't. you are not yours You do not have the right to do as you please with the body that God has given you and redeemed.”
This principle applies to all areas of our lives. We are not ours; We were bought at a great price. Recognize God's rights over your life and live within those rights. you belong to god He has the right to guide and guide you in your life choices.
Solve the question that God knows what the best thing in your life is. He will not take away the best that life has to offer.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
The life that Christ gives is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, temperance, etc. He gives it to you. Jesus continues to give himself so that you can continue to have his kind of life in abundance. The life that Christ gives to his people is abundant and always in abundance.
YOU AGREE TO THE TITH (10:37-39)
We shall also bring the first fruits of our dough, of our offerings, of the fruit of every tree, new wine and oil, to the priests in the chambers of the house of our God, and the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites are tithe recipients in all rural areas cities. The priest son of Aaron will be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites will bring the tithes of tithes to the house of our God, to the barns. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring wheat, new wine, and oil into the chambers; there are the utensils of the sanctuary, the ministering priests, the gatekeepers, and the singers. So we shall not neglect the house of our God” (verses 10:37-39).
Writing at about the same time, the prophet Malachi said: “'Bring all tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and now tempt me in it,' says the Lord of hosts, 'unless I open the windows of heaven, and I will shower blessings on you until they overflow" (Malachi 3:10).
God commanded that tithes meet the needs of the temple and its ministry. It was ten percent of everything. That was the bare minimum. He owed it to God.
The principle of the New Testament is of a much higher standard than the Old Testament. God owns everything, not just ten percent. Everything we are and have belongs to Him.
The New Testament sets a whole new standard for believers. Tithing is not compulsory, but believers should give a portion of their income to the Lord and acknowledge that it all comes from Him. We must give according to God's good. It could be a tenth or it could be ninety percent!
Der Apostel Paulus schrieb: „Am ersten Tag der Woche legt jeder von euch beiseite und spart nach seinem Wohlergehen, damit, wenn ich komme, keine Sammlungen stattfinden“ (1. Korinther 16,2).
The New Testament way of supporting God's work is described in detail in chapters eight and nine of 2 Corinthians. The believers in the Roman province of Macedonia were extremely poor. However, despite "great tribulation, their abundance of joy, and their deep poverty, they gave in abundance of riches of their generosity" (8:2). "For I testify that according to their ability and beyond their ability they gave of their own free will, earnestly asking us to have a part in the upkeep of the saints" (verses 3-4).
The believers understood what God had done in their lives and given with joy in their hearts. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that through his poverty you might become rich" (v. 9).
Paul's principle of giving is clearly stated in 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. Now I say: whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows plentifully will also reap plentifully. Everyone should do what he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under obligation, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to give you all grace in abundance, so that, always having enough in everything, you may have plenty for every good work, as it is written: He distributed, He gave His righteousness to the poor. abide forever." Well then, whoever gives seed and bread to the sower to eat will yield and multiply your seed for sowing and multiplying the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for every bounty that produces deeds through us, God be Thanks to.."
What is the result of giving so happily? It is a plentiful supply, a fully supported ministry.
Remember that God's work done in God's way will always result in His provision. When you serve God's way, there is no need to be constantly concerned with money.
What is your reason for service? What is your motive to give? Glory to God alone.
Jesus reminded his disciples at Matthew 6:19-24 who the Great Provider is. He concluded by saying, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
IT WAS A COVENANT NOT TO NEGLECT THE HOUSE OF GOD (10:39)
These people made a commitment to faithfully attend temple services. The tabernacle and later the temple were called "the house of God." They symbolically represented the place where God resides.
For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the grain offering, the new wine, and the oil into the chambers; there are the utensils of the sanctuary, the ministering priests, the gatekeepers, and the singers. So we shall not neglect the house of our God” (Nehemiah 10:39).
In the New Testament the emphasis is on people being the dwelling place of God. Your body is the house of God. It is the dwelling place of God.
The Apostle Paul says, "We are the temple of the living God" (2 Corinthians 6:16). The word for "temple" is naos, the holy of holies. Elsewhere Paul writes: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy them, for the temple of God is holy, and that is "you" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God, and which is not your own possess the same? Because you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (6:19-20).
Where the people of God gather is the house of God. I recently went to San Judas, Honduras with a medical dental response team. The day before our team arrived in the mountain town, a storm completely tore off the roof of the church. We held 25 outdoor services day and night. There was no physical building; we don't need one. The city was the house of God. Jesus said where two or three are gathered, there he is in the midst of them.
"Christ in you is the hope of glory." did you trust him does he live in you He will if you have trusted Him as your Savior. If you are a believer, are you allowing Jesus to settle down and make yourself comfortable in your inner life? The apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians that "according to the riches of his glory, God might give you by his Spirit to strengthen the inner man with power, that Christ might dwell in your hearts by faith, rooted and founded on love" ( Ephesians 3:16-17).
The original word for "dwell" means "settle down in an apartment, live permanently in a place, live in a house". Jesus wants you to invite him in, settle in, and feel right at home like a permanent resident.
Verse 19 tells us of God's purpose in this indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers. "That you may be filled with all the fullness of God." The parallel in Colossians 2:10 is "and in him you were made perfect, and he is head over all principalities and authorities...".
We are so complete in Christ that we lack nothing in God's eyes. In God's eyes we are absolutely perfect. Is it because of something we did? NO. We are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are completely "in him." “He made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Because of the precious blood of Jesus, we have perfect acceptance with God.
"We do not forsake our meeting, as some are wont to do, but encourage one another, and much more, as we see that day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25).
SOME PERMANENT PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
1. Choose a spouse who knows and loves the Lord Jesus Christ. The family is the foundation of any society or nation. It is the basic unit of society. When the family is destroyed, the nation is also destroyed. Destroy the family and you destroy the nation. Is that why there are so many attacks on family, family values and traditional marriage today?
2. Rest in the Lord, abide in Christ are not just buzzwords, but vital principles for a Christian life. Serve him with all your heart and trust that he will bless you and use you for his glory. learn to trust him; rest in Him. This is not a lazy lifestyle. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). Commit to making Sunday a day to focus on Christ and serve Him with all your heart.
3. Remember that you are a redeemed person. You are not your own boss. You belong to the Lord Jesus Christ because he bought you with his blood.
4. As a redeemed people, we must be obedient to him. It is our responsibility to seek His will in all things. The apostle Paul wrote: “I was crucified with Christ and live no longer, but Christ lives in me; and what I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself . oneself . himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
5. Give in the ministry with a joyful heart. There's no greater joy than being involved in something millions of years from now will still be worthwhile. Give from the abundance that God gives you.
6. Keep meeting with other believers for worship, fellowship, and service.
Will you make a lifetime commitment to serve and remain faithful to Christ?
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Index to this series about Nehemiah
Title: Nehemiah 10:1-39 A solemn covenant with God
Series: Nehemiah: A leader with a focused faith