Pastor Emmanuel Kokonyo from Nairobi, Kenya brought our message this week. His theme was on renewal and covenant drawn from Nehemiah 10: 28 and following.
The passage begins with the gathering of the people, priests, and Levites to rededicate themselves to the service of God. But why “rededication?” The answer simply is sin. The people of Israel had begun as a people of promise first with Abraham, and then in an earlier renewal after the exodus. Yet, the people had again drifted from their side of the covenant, and had experienced exile.
The response to sin is repentance, and it is in this spirit of repentance they in verse 29 bind themselves with a “curse” and an “oath” to return to the “Law of God given through Moses.”
This action of repentance began with dedication. Our passage, Brother Kokonyo noted, breaks down into areas of dedication. The first of these is dedication to the Word. The word of God addresses all of the areas of life. It addresses morals, doubt, faith, and examples of those who have exercised these traits. The Pastor called us to consider our own dedication to the Word. Do we make it the point of reference?
The next area is fear. This is not a negative type of fear, but rather a reverent awe. It is interesting that verse 29 mentions curse. This is an acknowledgement that relationship with God is one of awe. In relationship we have blessing. In comparison all else is curse.
Commitment is the third area of dedication. This the people, priests, and Levites made clear promises. These included a dedication to purity. Verses 30 and 31 say, “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons. When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day.” They were to not fall into the abuses of God’s Law as practiced by the world, or to put themselves into contact with it.
The final area dedication made by the Israelites was to provide for the maintenance of God’s House the Temple. They promised to provide for the physical upkeep of the Temple, but also of those who served there. How could the sacrifices of faith be made if there was no firewood to offer it up with? The people promised never to let down the service of God.
Shall we be a people so dedicated?
One thought on “Renewing Covenant”
I read and my faith is expanded because of that simple idea of information, affirmation and finally confirmation that in some mysterious way God is speaking his truth to hearts from many nations.
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