Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Eiffel Tower

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for May 28, Neh 10-11

Today’s readings are Neh 10-11.

The people of Judah, starting with the spiritual and administrative leaders, sign an oath (Neh 10:1-27). They commit to four over-arching tenants: (1) obedience to the law (2) no intermarriage with foreigners (3) observance of the Sabbath (4) observance of the tithe and offerings (Neh 10:28-39).

Notice that they are not forming a new covenant with God but are rededicating themselves to the original covenant. This is, apparently, a turning point for Israel. They are open and contrite about their sin, making a commitment to return to obedience.

Neh 11 depicts the completed re-population of the city. It started with those who descended from families who lived in the city during the time of David and re-established the continuity of the ancestral homes. Nehemiah brings them to live in the city in this order: the leaders, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, and watchers. The land was apportioned outside the city as well. The workers and servers in the temple were provided for. Those descendants of the two tribes that occupied this area previously, Judah and Benjamin, are relocated to their respective lands.

We have witnessed grace in the journey of the Jews. God sent His people into exile, then brought them back. Then He sent prophets to convict them of their sin. The people responded appropriately to God’s chastisement and warning and were restored in their relationship with Him.

From this, we should learn that everything God does and everyone He sends are gifts of grace. This is true even if our sins are revealed in the process. Perhaps a better descriptor would be “…especially if our sins are revealed.” While it seems far easier to hide our sin and resist confession, when we strive to confess with a contrite heart, God blesses and draws us nearer. Therefore, anything that leads us to confess, like the law is a gift.

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