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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Day 270: The covenant

Here’s a word we haven’t heard for a while - a covenant. This is clearly a serious moment
God’s goodness and mercy remembered
Nehemiah 9:32-37
Covenant made
Nehemiah 9:38
The people sign the covenant
Nehemiah 10:1-27
The covenant
Nehemiah 10:28-39
The dedication of the wall
Nehemiah 12:27-43
In praise of God the Almighty
Psalm 147

God has previously taken the initiative, entering into a covenant with the people. Now, they acknowledge that he kept his side of the bargain throughout, and they were the ones who broke the deal, and sign up once again.
The terms of the covenant are spelled out: no foreign wives or husbands, keeping of the sabbaths, regular taxes for the Temple and other offerings to God. It’s all good, but is it me, or are we lacking something? It’s expressed in monetary terms, but there’s nothing about hearts and minds. There’s no promise to love God and worship him exclusively. The concluding line is “We will not neglect the house of our God.” (10:39) We’ll keep his house tidy, but we don’t necessarily promise to pay any attention to him.
The dedication of the wall brings great celebration - another sign of Nehemiah’s good leadership. Once something is achieved, he encourages people to celebrate it. Psalm 147 expresses their joy - God has called them back, given them a new start. “He has done this for no other nation.” (Ps 147:20)

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