Summary: Even though vows are seldom kept, there are a few vows every follower of Jesus Christ ought to make and strive to keep.
January 26, 2003
1Now on the sealed document were the names of: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, 2Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, 3Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, 4Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, 5Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, 6Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, 7Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, 8Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah. These were the priests. 9And the Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel; 10also their brothers Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13Hodiah, Bani, Beninu. 14The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, 15Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, 19Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, 20Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, 21Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, 22Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, 23Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, 24Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, 25Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, 26Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, 27Malluch, Harim, Baanah.
28Now the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons and their daughters, all those who had knowledge and understanding, 29are joining with their kinsmen, their nobles, and are taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God¡¦s law, which was given through Moses, God¡¦s servant, and to keep and to observe all the commandments of GOD our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes; 30and that we will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons. 31As for the peoples of the land who bring wares or any grain on the sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the sabbath or a holy day; and we will forego the crops the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.
32We also placed ourselves under obligation to contribute yearly one third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: 33for the showbread, for the continual grain offering, for the continual burnt offering, the sabbaths, the new moon, for the appointed times, for the holy things and for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God.
34Likewise we cast lots for the supply of wood among the priests, the Levites and the people so that they might bring it to the house of our God, according to our fathers¡¦ households, at fixed times annually, to burn on the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law; 35and that they might bring the first fruits of our ground and the first fruits of all the fruit of every tree to the house of the LORD annually, 36and bring to the house of our God the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks as it is written in the law, for the priests who are ministering in the house of our God. 37We will also bring the first of our dough, our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the new wine and the oil to the priests at the chambers of the house of our God, and the tithe of our ground to the Levites, for the Levites are they who receive the tithes in all the rural towns. 38The priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse. 39For the sons of Israel and the sons of Levi shall bring the contribution of the grain, the new wine and the oil to the chambers; there are the utensils of the sanctuary, the priests who are ministering, the gatekeepers and the singers. Thus we will not neglect the house of our God.
Nehemiah 10:1-39 (NASB)
How are you doing with all those New Year¡¦s Resolutions? Are they all in one piece? (Or did you wolf-down that candy bar before 9am January 1st?) Vows are a tough thing. Just think of all the different vows you have made:
New Year¡¦s resolutions
That household budget
Your promise to your fellow church members in this
faith community to live by the church covenant.
Your promise to your wife or husband, Mom or Dad to quit that habit¡K
Your promise to our whole country every time you pledge to the flag
Have I made you uncomfortable yet?
Why do we break vows so easily? The short answer lies within ¡V it is our nature to be unfaithful; our sin nature. Every ¡§son of Adam¡¨ has it ¡V that part of our heritage that propels us to break a promise; we take the forbidden fruit. Paul expressed it this way:
18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 21I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. Romans 7:18-21 (NASB)