Nehemiah 10:1-39

A New Year Sealed by Renewed Hearts

From Nehemiah 6:15, we learned that the repair work of the wall was completed in the sixth month.  Following that was a very busy seventh month, full of group events of revival.  The seventh month in Hebrew civil calendar marks the beginning of an economic year for people, animals, and legal contracts. It was very proper that after a series of observing the festivals and being attentive to God’s word, on the twenty-fourth day (Nehemiah 9), the Israelites held a special religious event of repentance and were resolved to practice their faith and put it in writing as the new year started.  In the first part of Chapter 10, eighty-four men, representing the population of Israel, with renewed hearts turning to the Lord, provided their seals to the binding agreement of obedience.

The return from captivity and the rebuilding of the temple and Jerusalem, along with external treats and internal conflicts – none of these were easy tasks. (Matthew 19:26) “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Now is the time to take another step of obedience and put their faith into to day-to-day life, as a response to God’s grace and provision. Nehemiah 10:30-39 is the declaration of Israelites and their ‘I will’ statements for the life applications. On one hand, the theme is about ‘separating’, or ‘setting aside’ for the purpose of God. For example, separating Israelites from the neighboring peoples by not intermarrying with them, setting Sabbath/Sabbatical year aside for ‘rest’, bringing the first fruit, first -born, and tithes to the house of God…etc. On the other hand, it is about being faithful – believing that He is the only God, trusting that He will provide, and giving Him what He deserves.

Below are two additional verses as we meditate for the calling and resolution for sanctification and priesthood as it is less than a month to go into Year 2021:

(Exodus 19:5-6)  Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.

(1 Peter 2:9) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

During the research for references on Jewish calendar, a Hebrew New Year greeting came across and it is suitable for people in Chapter 10 as well as for us today: (in English translation)  “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” —- Ivy Lin

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