Pastor's Blog

   I read a story that may or may not be true - but it seems kind of fitting in light of what we read in Nehemiah 9 and 10 this morning. The story goes . . .In a certain church, there was a man who always ended his prayers with, “And, Lord, clean the cobwebs out of my life! Clean the cobwebs out of my life!”

   One of the members of the church became weary of hearing this same insincere request week after week, because he saw no change in the petitioner’s life. So, the next time he heard the man pray, “Lord, clean the cobwebs out of my life!” he interrupted with, “And while you’re at it, Lord, kill the spider!”

   It is one thing to pray a great prayer of confession such as we read in chapter 9, but something far greater to live out a life of obedience afer the “amen.”

In the prayer of chapter 9 we read a history of the rise and fall, the rise and fall, the rise and fall, etc., of the nation of Israel. They were a people called by God to be an example to the nations of what it means to live in the blessing of the Lord . . . to live in covenant with the only true and living God. However, the Israelites kept messing it up. They chose to live to please themselves rather than God. That choice led to the loss of their freedom. It led to be taken over by other nations and kings. The people would repent and God would forgive - and the cycle would start all over. In Nehemiah’s day, they were living in one of those times where there was an opportunity for a fresh start. That is what the prayer of chapter 9 and the covenant of chapter 10 is all about – a fresh start with God. It is interesting to me that though chapter 9:37 ends with the words “we are in great distress” , there is no prayer asking for God’s mercy or blessing. They know that they are where they are because of their sins as a nation. So they make a decision that the right thing for them to do at this moment is renew the commitment of the people of Israel to the covenant that had been made in the days of Moses. Their confession is accompanied by repentance. They make a commitment, sign it, and seal it – God this is what we are going to do . . .

   I want to summarize the covenant with three major things that they promised to do that day – three things that I believe we must do if we want to live in the blessing of the Lord.

1. They committed to submit themselves to the Word of God. In essence they were saying we are going to live by God’s commands.

2. They committed themselves to live like the people of God. Their promise was to separate themselves from the Gentile nations. They would no longer intermarry – they would no longer worship the foreign idols – they would not forget to keep Sabbath. . . they were committing themselves to live like the people of God.

3. They committed themselves to take care of the house of God. The house of God would be a top priority. They would be faithful in tithing, faithful in providing everything that was needed for the worship at the temple to take place .

   What I read today in Nehemiah reminds me of the fact that though we are saved by grace and grace alone, our maturing as believers is dependent upon us living lives that are committed to God. To enjoy the blessing of God in our lives on an ongoing basis we must live in submission to the Word of God, we must live in holiness , and we must make the “house of God” a priority. I think that Jesus words in Matthew 6:33 sum it all up Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Suggested Readings To Read Through The Bible In A Year

Saturday      August 28, 2010   Nehemiah 9-10 & Psalm 115

Sunday        August 29, 2010   Nehemiah 11-13 & Psalm 116

Monday       August 30, 2010   1 Timothy 1-2 & Psalm 117

Tuesday      August 31, 2010   1 Timothy 3-4 & Psalm 118:1-14

Wednesday September 1, 2010   1 Timothy 5-6 & Psalm 118:15-29





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