Today’s passage is Nehemiah 10:1-27. There are so many important lessons we can learn from this passage. Let’s go!
Nehemiah 10:1-27 (NIV) 1 Those who sealed it were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah. Zedekiah, 2 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, 3 Pashhur, Amariah, Malkijah, 4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, 5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, 6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, 7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, 8 Maaziah, Bilgai and Shemaiah. These were the priests. 9 The Levites: Jeshua son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel, 10 and their associates: Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13 Hodiah, Bani and Beninu. 14 The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, 15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, 19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, 20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, 21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, 22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, 23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, 24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, 25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, 26 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, 27 Malluch, Harim and Baanah.
On verses 1-27: Here is a list of the priests, Levites and other leaders, along with Nehemiah, who represented the people in signing a written agreement to say, on behalf of the Israelites, that they would obey the Lord and be faithful to Him. To evidence how serious their commitment was, they put their own names on the line and sealed the document with their personal seals.
What can we learn from this? I respect the guts of those who were willing to put their names on the line and sign an agreement to say that they will follow all of God’s commands. Every family, every church, every city, every school, every company and every nation needs people who are willing to stick their neck out on behalf of the people and lead by example in following the Lord.
At the same time, remember that there is only one man who followed God’s commands perfectly and who did not sin. His name is not even on this list. It’s Jesus Christ. Everyone on that list failed to obey all of God’s commands. But amazingly, Jesus obeyed all of God’s commands on our behalf – in our name, so to speak. He did all the work of obeying God, a work that we could never accomplish ourselves. Then He credited our names with that obedience. He also took our sins and assumed responsibility for them in our place. Who else could do that and who else would do that? No one. What an amazing Saviour we have in Jesus.
Nehemiah 10:29 (NIV) 29 all these now join their brothers 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.
On verses 28-39: These verses appear to be the contents of the written agreement that the Israelites entered into as they personally bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the law of Moses and “to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees” of the Lord (v29). The remaining verses are of course not an exhaustive list of all of God’s commands, but a highlight reel of some of the commands Nehemiah and the leaders were particularly concerned about. For example:
Nehemiah 10:30 (NIV) 30 “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons.
On verse 30: Over and over in His Word God warns His people about marrying unbelievers and the dangers that arise from it. Here the Israelites commit to not giving their children away in marriage to unbelievers (v30). What can we learn from this? Parents, we have an important responsibility to teach our children about the kind of person they should marry – someone who loves, serves and follows the Lord and reflects the Lord in their character, their attitude and their behaviour. We do this not simply by telling them who they should marry, but even more by modeling for them what a Christ-like man, a Christ-like woman and a Christ-like marriage looks like. We want our children to clearly see the difference it makes when a married couple love, serve and follow the Lord together. If you are married with children, may you and your spouse be committed to modeling a Christ-centered marriage to your children, such that your children would not want anything less when they grow up. If you are single and want to get married, don’t shoot yourself in the foot and marry someone who does not follow Jesus. Pray for and believe that God will give you a God-honouring, Christ-centered partner with whom you can build a God-honouring, Christ-centered family.
Nehemiah 10:31 (NIV) 31 “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.
On verse 31: Here the Israelites commit to not working on the Sabbath and to obeying the law of Moses that required fields to rest and debts to be canceled every 7 years. Here we learn 3 things you can do for a happier, healthier you and happier, healthier relationships with God and people:
(1) Schedule regular rest from your work each week.
(2) Don’t exhaust the resources you are given in the short-term so that you can be effective for the long-term.
(3) Practice forgiveness regularly. It’s healthy for your spirit, mind and body.
Praise God that His commands are for our benefit and our good.
Nehemiah 10:37 (NIV) 37 “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 oil. And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all the towns where we work.
On verses 32-39: Amazingly, the rest of the chapter is all about the Israelites’ commitment to taking good care of the house of God where they worship. Look at all the different commitments the Israelites make as it relates to taking care of the house of God: paying an annual temple maintenance fee (v32-33), contributing wood to burn on the altar (v34), bringing the first portion of all that their fields and livestock produce (v35-37a), tithing (i.e. giving one tenth to the house of God of) their crops (v37b-38), and storing these contributions (v39). All of these can be summed up with this phrase: “We will not neglect the house of our God” (v39).
What can we learn from this? The lesson should be clear. Christians have a responsibility to take good care of God’s house where they worship. That’s why God commands us to tithe faithfully (give the first tenth of our income to the church). As Malachi 3:10 says,
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
Do you tithe? Do you give generously above and beyond your tithe? So that your church has sufficient resources to fulfill its mission, let’s take good care of the house of God and the people who have dedicated their working lives to serving His house. Let’s give our faithful tithes and our generous offerings. We will all be blessed when we do so.
Lord Jesus, You gave not just a tenth of what You have for Your church. You gave everything You have. I pray I would be a great lover of my church too. May I not neglect Your house, but give my faithful tithes and generous offerings out of a heart of gratitude and faith. Thank You that as I seek Your kingdom first You will bless my church and me. I pray that I would model for my children what it means to have a truly Christ-centered home such that they would not want to settle for anything less when they get married. May I be a good steward of everything You have entrusted to me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!