After understanding God’s standards, people’s heart and soul get convicted. But then what? They rededicate and recalibrate their focus. Do these 3 areas of life focus resonate with you? ◊
Once convicted of the waywardness of your past or present ways, have you ever committed to recalibrate your life and get back on track?
Perhaps with your parents or family; perhaps with a friend? Perhaps with your spouse?
How about with God?
The Christian faith is all about forgiveness. Not so much about ours for each other, although that’s a natural offshoot, but about God’s forgiveness of us.
God’s forgiveness is unconditional. God’s love is relentless. It’s actually hard to fully fathom and understand.
- But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
While He welcomes our recommitment and life’s recalibration, His acceptance and love for us is not dependent on our noble actions or intentions.
He’s moved by our crushed and committed heart of devotion to Him and Him alone.
The Conviction and Rededication, Again
God’s Holy Spirit convicts our heart and rebuilds our soul and personality. In our excited rejuvenation we rededicate and recommit ourselves to God and have great desire to reset ourselves back in alignment with our Creator.
And then we stumble and even fall again headlong.
But God is there waiting for us. Once again.
This is what’s so amazing about God’s grace. Paul, the great apostle, refers to himself as the worst of sinners, even a wretched man:
- Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15)
- What a wretched man I am!… (Romans 7:24)
Yet God still loves him and us and our contrite hearts.
Nehemiah and the People Recommit Themselves
And the same goes on during the time of Nehemiah. In Nehemiah 10, the people have read and reread the Law of Moses for their nation and have confessed their sinful and errant past and present.
They now have come together to bind their commitment with a written covenant sealed by their leaders and Nehemiah the governor.
Those who sealed it were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hakaliah. Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah… the priests…the Levites…and their associates…
The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, musicians, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand — all these now join their fellow Israelites the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our Lord. (Nehemiah 10:1-29)
3 Areas of Recommitment
The people of Israel make their rededication to God around 3 major areas:
1. Recommitment of their Children – the people promise to not surrender their children, daughters and sons, in marriage to those outside their faith community:
We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the people around us or take their daughters for our sons. (Nehemiah 10:30)
2. Recommitment to God’s Precepts – the people promise to not work on the Sabbath and to reinstitute God’s lending laws:
When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts. (Nehemiah 10:31)
3. Recommitment of their Resources – the people promise to financially support the service of the house of God with even the firstfruits of their crops, a “redemptive” tax on their firstborn sons, and sacrifice of their firstborn cattle herds and flocks, and a tithe of their crops to the priests:
We assume the responsibility for carrying out the commands to give a third of a shekel each year for the service of the house of our God…. We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the Lord each year the firstfruits of our crops and of every fruit tree. As it is also written in the Law, we will bring the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, of our herds and of our flocks to the house of our God, to the priests ministering there. Moreover, we will bring to the storerooms of the house of our God, to the priests, the first of our ground meal, of our grain offerings, of the fruit of all our trees and of our new wine and olive oil. And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites… We will not neglect the house of our God.” (Nehemiah 10:32-39)
Family, Worship, and Money
While this might be misunderstood to be about religious legalism, there is actually a practical application here for all of us, even us non-Jewish Gentiles.
First, be clear that the Jewish people were being reminded of the Law of God that was passed on to them. And only them. Jewish Law has no required application outside of what God was doing with His Chosen People, whom He was setting aside to teach, as well as teach the world, about Himself and to bring about the redemption of the entire world through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, the atonement for the world, was to come through this historic line of Jewish people (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David), as the fulfillment of the promised blessing given to Abraham way back in Genesis chapter 12.
This is not to say that we, outside the Jewish community of Nehemiah’s day, derive no value ourselves through an understanding of the Law. Through God’s law, we see our waywardness, we see God’s purity, His ways, His wisdom, His love, His values, His priorities, His directed intentions and plans.
And in Nehemiah 10, through this renewal of their commitment as God’s people, we can see the importance of God’s perspective view on:
- The raising of our family. Raise children to not dilute knowledge and understanding of the One True God.
- The priority of worship. Perpetually honor God with an ongoing portion of our time and life in submission to His Lordship
- The surrender of our money. A not insignificant amount of our monetary resources and possessions are submitted to support and recognition of God as our ultimate source of provision.
And in the final chapters we will see how Nehemiah (and the Holy Spirit) holds the people (and us) accountable, even as they (and us) vow and break commitments.
Are you in need of a recommitment?
…all these now join their fellow Israelites, the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to carefully obey all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our Lord. – Nehemiah 10:29