For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God. ~Nehemiah 10:39
A promise is a pledge towards a performance. It is a word of honor that something important will be accomplished according to the agreed-upon stipulations. When a person incurs a debt, he signs a promissory note to repay that debt. A marriage covenant is when a man and woman promise their devotion, lives, and bodies to each other. In Nehemiah 10-12, we see the Israelites and the spiritual leaders of the nation making a promise to properly care for the house of God. In this promise they said, “We will not forsake the house of our God.”
We see a sincere COMMITMENT.
After the walls and gates of Jerusalem had been repaired and built, Nehemiah led the leadership and the people to make the city and God’s house a high priority. First, there was the priority of faith. Everyone needed to have faith in living in or very near to the city. The farther away people lived, the less likely they would be involved. They needed to have faith in their safety and the service of the house of God. Second, there was the priority of function. The priests and Levites needed to resume the duties and responsibilities associated with the worship of God and the care of God’s house. In addition, the Sabbath Day needed to be hallowed, and no vendors would be allowed to buy and sell on that day. Third, there was the priority of the finances. The people needed to resume giving the tithe and firstfruits for the care of God’s servants and the maintenance of God’s house. For years, these things had been neglected and not given much attention. Nehemiah led the way for everyone to commit to keeping these priorities.
We see a sinful COLLAPSE.
When we get to Nehemiah 13, we see that the people did not keep their commitments for very long. The collection of the tithe and firstfruits had stopped. This resulted in the Levites not being cared for. Worst, the storehouse for the offerings was converted into a room for Tobiah the Ammonite to stay in. Then, vendors were allowed to come inside the city to sell their goods on the Sabbath Day. Some of the people had a careless attitude towards the Sabbath Day, and treaded their winepresses and worked their fields. To make matters worse, many of the people allowed their children to intermarry with the pagans. The people went backwards and fell right back into the same sins that led to them being chastened and taken into captivity many years before. Nehemiah asked, “Why is the house of God forsaken?”
We see a stressful CONFRONTATION.
Nehemiah requested leave from the king of Persia to return to Jerusalem. Upon his return, he was aghast to discover all of the things that occurred. With both sadness and righteous indignation, he confronted each situation head-on. As spiritual leaders, one of the more difficult responsibilities we have is to confront sin and disobedience. Confrontation results in loss of favor with people. Confrontation results in making unpopular decisions. Confrontation results in sleepless nights.
We see a sanctified CORRECTION.
Nehemiah had to make some major corrections. For one, Tobiah had to be thrown out of the house of God. The tithe needed to be given and used to care for the servants of God. The gates needed to be closed on the Sabbath Day, and the vendors told they were not allowed to sell on the Sabbath. The families that had intermarried with the pagans had to be contended with. Nehemiah did not want to risk the loss of God’s blessing, and made these unpopular corrections. He made it his responsibility to make sure that the promises made were promises kept.
What does this teach us? We must keep our promises with God. We must remember that promises do matter to God. Have you slipped in one or more promises? Let us give diligence to care for God’s house.
Have a protected God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Deuteronomy 32-34