Renewing Spiritual Commitments

Key Verse: “In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.”
—Nehemiah 9:38 New International Version

Lesson Scripture:
Nehemiah 9:38 – 10:39

THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL who had returned to Judah from Babylonian captivity were trying to make a fresh start in keeping the Law Covenant. They had suffered much at the hands of their enemies as God permitted them to be removed from their land, their temple destroyed, Jerusalem gutted, and the desolation of their land in punishment for their idolatry. Their return to rebuild the Temple by decree of Cyrus, and to rebuild Jerusalem by decree of Artaxerxes, had spanned eighty years. But now, under the leadership of Nehemiah, governor, and Ezra, scribe and priest, they had become the nation God desired.

When the Law was read to them they wept. After making the day sacred to the Lord, and rejoicing in his goodness, they kept the Feast of Tabernacles. After they had done so on the 24th day of the month, they put on sackcloth and ashes, confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers, had the Law read to them again and completed the day by confessing sins and worshipping God. A complete review of God’s dealings with them was recited to the people, beginning with Abraham and ending with their present situation. (Neh. 9:5-37) Then they signed a covenant with God to keep the Law.—vs. 38

One of the problems Israel constantly had was that of intermarriage with people of heathen lands. This practice often led them into worship of foreign gods, and idolatry. Both Nehemiah and Ezra knew this and made a decided effort to stop intermarriage with foreigners. After their leaders had sealed the covenant made anew with God, the Scriptures say, “The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, 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”—bound themselves to follow the Law of God, and they said, “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons.” (Neh. 10:28-30, NIV) This was reiterated in Ezra 9:10-15. The people were now dedicating themselves to the keeping of the Law and their vows to do so are listed in Nehemiah 10:31-39. This was not a halfhearted endeavor by the people. Under the proper leadership and examples of Nehemiah and Ezra they were now ready to start anew.

We have such opportunities every day. Whenever, for whatever reason, we have slipped in our devotion to God, we can renew our consecration vows. We can do this as a matter of course every day, as we read A Vow unto the Lord and take our Morning Resolve. One of the great boons to faithful worship of God is in the advice of the Apostle Paul as he wrote, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb. 10:25) As the days grow more evil, the Lord’s people need each other, and to exhort one another, to study more about the plan and character of God and his Son. By these inspirations we renew each day our vow to be faithful.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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