(39 verses, 4:02 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Nehemiah records all those who signed the covenant and reports what the covenant entails.
- vv. 1-27 are the names of those who sealed the covenant.
- vv. 28-39 detail what the covenant required of the people.
- A few of the name listed above may be recognizable if you’ve been keeping a close eye on Nehemiah so far. However, with this and many other name lists in the Old Testament, we often don’t know much about these folks. A wise pastor once remarked that these were like names on the tombstones of a church cemetery. We may not personally know them, but they are known by the God who redeemed them with the blood of His Son, Jesus, and called them by name.
- The people took their oath before God very seriously, even calling upon themselves curses for not following it. We do well to remember not to take the Lord’s name in vein when making promises. It is best to let our yes be yes and our no be no. However, in those times when we do make promises in the Lord’s name (confirmation, marriage, and ordination all come to mind), we should clearly think through the implications of such an oath. God does not give us His name for us to lie or deceive or strengthen our own position at His expense. The promises made here were certainly godly, however. These were pledges made to be faithful to God’s Law, given originally through Moses. This Law pointed the people of old to the coming Christ, all the while revealing Christ to us in the Old Testament. For example, God separated out His people from the nations in order to produce the Savior of all nations–Jesus Christ.
- The second group of pledges dealt specifically with the upkeep of the temple and the sacrificial system. The people recognized that these were the means by which God dealt with them and gave them the forgiveness of sins. In the same way, we know that the Gospel is free, but we do well to support faithful preaching and the right administration of the Sacraments in our midst, that the saving work of the Gospel may continue unabated.
- Prayer: O Lord, You are faithful to Your promises, and Your Word is never broken. Strengthen and keep us firm in Your Word and faith until we die, forgive us when we fail to do what we have promised, and fulfill what we are unable or unwilling to do. Amen.
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-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN
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