The Christian life is a series of new beginnings. There are strategic times in our lives when we need to repent of sin and reaffirm our commitments. There are times when we need to rededicate our lives or repeat our vows. Nehemiah 10 gives us four indications for making genuine decisions.
When the Bible was first written it did not have chapters and verses. These were later added to help us locate passages. So, our text really begins in 9:38 – “And because of all this, we make a sure covenant and write it….” A signature shows the intention of the individual. In this case, they wanted God and others to know that they meant business. People tend to do what they put their name to. If you buy a car or a house, you sign the dotted line! Should we not take spiritual things as seriously?
You may ask, “What is the big deal with me making my decision public? Can’t it just be between me and God?” No. Matthew 10:32-33 says, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
Nehemiah 10:29 says, “these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law… and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes….” The people joined together with their “brethren” and made a decision to surrender to God. We do ministry and life together! We help each other out! The real test of revival is not how many decisions were made, but how many had a change of heart, attitude, and direction. If you walk down the aisle, pray a prayer, and go out unchanged, your decision was not real.
People come to church, hear the Word of God preached, and leave with the attitude, “I will live that way if I want to, and if I don’t want to, I don’t have to.” The Word of God is the final authority for faith and practice. You cannot read the Bible cafeteria style, just picking and choosing the parts you like best.
In verses 30-31, the people decide they will be set apart despite what everyone else was doing. They were surrounded by pagan people who did not know God, however, Nehemiah and the people said they were going to march to a different drumbeat.
The two specific areas mentioned in these verses are relationships and business. They declared they would not marry unbelievers and that they would not work on the Sabbath. These are great guidelines for us today! If you are single, don’t date unbelievers. Only date the kind of person you would marry. Also, don’t work on God’s day. Find a job that permits you to go to church and worship. Life revolves around worship not work. Make God your priority!
Nine times this passage refers to “the house of God.” How we take care of His house indicates what we think of God. Verses 32-33 declare they would give financially to support and maintain the work of the ministry. In verse 34, they brought a wood offering, and in verses 35-37 they brought their “firstfruits.” They gave their best to God, not their leftovers! Every time God puts something in your hand, put it back in His and ask what He would have you do with it. Let us declare, just like those in the passage, “we will not neglect the house of our God” (v. 39).
Nehemiah and the people had a great revival. It was a real move of God! They made a public, fresh, genuine commitment. What do you need to make a new commitment to?