Often, people will make grand statements to follow and dedicate themselves to God or some other cause in a moment of great passion. The mark of true dedication is when the details of what dedication mean are carried out in that person’s life.
Nehemiah lists eight areas of discipleship that the Israelites agreed to reform. We can see clear parallels in our lives as we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Remember, the term Christian means “follower of Christ.”
Today’s devotional will cover the first 5 areas. We will look at the last three in tomorrow’s blog.
1. They will not be unequally yoked with the people of the world. This type is not forbidding interracial marriage today. It is saying it is wrong for a believer to marry an unbeliever.
and that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons: – Nehemiah 10:30
2. They will not do business with the heathen on the Sabbath day. This points out that they are given permission to do necessary business on other days but the Lord’s day is to be dedicated to His worship and our personal rest.
and if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: – Nehemiah 10:31a
3. “Leave the seventh year” is in regard to planting and harvesting. This would be the year that the poor could gather freely. This workfare system is much better than government welfare. Under God’s design, the poor still had to do the work in order to eat! We can see this law being followed in the book of Ruth when she goes to glean the fields of Boaz.
and that we would leave the seventh year, – Nehemiah 10:31b
4. In the 7th year, all debts are forgiven. This points to the jubilee in the gospel kingdom as well as the joy of our eternal home.
and the exaction of every debt. – Nehemiah 10:31c
5. They agreed to regularly support the monetary needs of the Temple worship. – Verse 33-34 gives a list of the needs. This giving was in addition to the first fruit offering in verse 35. In our churches today, this is equivalent to helping with them upkeep of the physical building and grounds. This is done not only through financial support, but physical labor as well.
Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God;for the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God. And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the law: – Nehemiah 10:32-35