Summary: We commit because it reflects the character of our God, it helps us stay on the right track and it helps us stay focused on God.
In the past 2 chapters we see a nation’s attempts at re-connecting with God.
• It started with the reading of the Book of the Law (Torah, Pentateuch), the Word of God.
• They were convicted by the Spirit of God and convinced of a need to change.
Last week, we saw the gathering of the people in prayer. Led by the Levites, the prayed a prayer of confession. They repented before God.
• TRUE CHANGE or spiritual renewal can only happen when 3 things are present:
(1) Confession (admit our sin) – agreeing with God that a change is needed.
(2) Repentance (acknowledge God’s ways) – this set the direction of change. God’s Word is the benchmark, the blessed way.
(3) Commitment (act on it).
All of these happen through the work of the Holy Spirit. He takes the Word of God and impresses it upon our heart.
• Jesus says the Spirit convicts the world of sin, and righteousness and judgement (John 16:8).
• So let’s be quick to confess before God.
WHY CONFESS? Surely not to inform Him of something He does not already now.
(1) It is to agree with God so that the Holy Spirit can aid us as we can take the steps toward change. If we do not “come to our senses” and be convinced of the need for change, we won’t.
(2) Confession makes us authentic. We are fully honest before God, honest with self, and honest towards people. This is the secret to happiness and fellowship with God.
The BASIS of our confession is the greatness, goodness and the forgiving grace of God.
• 9:17c “But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.”
The people were determined to act on it. Let’s read Neh 9:38, 10:28-39.
• They made a “binding agreement” in Chap 10 to follow the Lord wholeheartedly. No one asked them to do it; they wanted it.
• They put it in writing and sealed it. Putting a seal on a document is a serious matter because it meant taking a solemn oath before the Lord.
Without this, confession and repentance means nothing. You can express sorrow for sin and understand the need to change, but NOT change.
• This third step is critical. It expresses their commitment to God, a commitment to change.
• They signed a covenant with God – the list of signatories are the leaders (Nehemiah, Zedekiah), the priests (21 names), the Levites (17 names), and the heads of noble families (44 names). There were 84 signatories.
• They represented the entire nation in making a commitment to God – to SUBMIT to God’s Word, to SEPARATE as God’s People, and they SUPPORT God’s work (needs of the Temple).
Commitment is what we need today. But sadly this is a word few likes to hear.
• Few like to talk about commitment, because it feels that we are binding ourselves to something, or to someone, if we are talking about marriage.
• We want to be free to change, to do whatever we like, as and when we want. We want liberty, not obligation. We prefer to go by how we FEEL than what is RIGHT.