Summary: My question for you today is… are you dis-satisfied with YOUR current level of spirituality, are YOU ready to move forward and have a deeper spirituality, a closer relationship to God?
Two weeks ago we discussed how these Israelites had praised God and that praise led to a bigger awareness of God and His Holiness, purity and worthiness
That led to a greater awareness of their own sinfulness and unworthiness
That led them to confess their sins
And that led them to repent… change their ways… obey God
This week we are back to the same passage to learn a new lesson… about GROWING CLOSER to God.
My question for you today is… are you dis-satisfied with YOUR current level of spirituality, are YOU ready to move forward and have a deeper spirituality, a closer relationship to God?
To move to that deeper level… it was necessary for YOU… to do certain things
Let’s see what those things are as we examine the biblical account
First of all… YOU HAVE TO BE FOCUSED ON GOD
When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns,1 all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.
The Israelites were distracted with the building project and the spiritual aspect was on the back burner.
That is the situation with too many Christians today… they are too distracted by STUFF
Getting more stuff
Taking care of the stuff
And the spiritual aspect of their lives is on the back burner… lost in the stuff
It was not until they stopped focusing on the STUFF… the wall… that they could focus on the spiritual
Time management experts tell us there are two overall ways to classify activities… important and urgent
Within the two classifications there are four types of activities
1. Important, and Urgent
2. Important, not Urgent
3. Urgent, not Important
4. Not Important, not Urgent
The Israelites were caught up in THE TYRANY OF THE URGENT
No time for anything but URGENT
Not even time for the Important AND Urgent
Just the urgent
The IMPORTANT get pushed out by the urgent
The Israelites were doing what they thought was most important…
And the spiritual got pushed to the important BUT NOT URGENT
For some to the NO IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT
How about YOU
Where is your focus? STUFF
SOMETHING HAS TO GET YOUR FOCUS ON GOD
For Moses it was a burning bush
For Belshazzar it was handwriting on the wall
For Balaam it was a talking donkey
For Paul it was a lightning bolt
For the Israelites it was thankfulness
The Israelites became focused as a result of hearing God’s Word.
The Israelites made four decisions.
The first one is found in 10:29: “All these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our God.”
#1: Submission to God’s Word.
They were totally serious in their desire to devote themselves to everything that is spelled out in the Bible.
In Nehemiah 10, the people are saying that they are so seriously submitted to God and His Word that they are willing for the curses of God to fall on them if they do not carefully obey what He says.
2. YOU HAVE TO BE RECEPTIVE TO THE WORD
These Israelites had not been raised with the Word of God or attending worship.
They knew almost nothing about Judaism.
They had been raised in a foreign culture and were ignorant of the Word of God.
Now, they were studying the word, hearing for the first time of the wonderful acts of God and His requirements.
They were cut to the heart and ready to make big changes. When they would hear of God’s laws they WANTED to be obedient. So, one by one they would say, “OK, we’ll do that.”
After submitting themselves to God and His Word, the believers make another vow:
“We promise to not give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or to take their daughters for our sons.”
This was new to these Israelites. They had lived for generations in exile. The only marriage partners available, to carry on the family line, were foreigners.
They had been intermarrying for years and had come to see it as natural, never seeing it as wrong.
Now, they read God’s Word where he requires them to be a peculiar people, not intermarrying.
They did not try to defend themselves or what they had done… they just submitted to the Word and will of God and said, “If that is what God wants… that’s what we’ll do.”
Let me promise you one thing… God was in that worship service and His heart was thrilled.