vs.1-31. The people in accord with their leaders covenanted to obey the law of God.
A. The leaders (Nehemiah being first mentioned, v.1) set the tone and example for the people by sealing this covenant.
1. Church teachers must also be church leaders and examples.
1PE 5:3 c/w 1TI 4:12.
2. Forwardness in church leaders inspires confidence and godly conduct in church members. PHIL 1:12-14.
3. Both leaders and people bound themselves to the same law. There was
not a different standard for leaders than there was for the people.
c/w MAT 23:2-4; ROM 2:21.
B. v.29. The people "...clave to their brethren, their nobles..." Successful
building in the church depends on whether a people cleave unto those whom God sends to teach and rule. 1TH 5:11-13; HEB 13:7, 17 c/w ACT 17:34.
C. Mind that those who entered into this covenant to serve God are described as
"...every one having knowledge, and having understanding" (v.28). They were of sufficient age to know what they were doing and did so voluntarily.
1. The gospel church is built in similar fashion.
2. Only those who are baptized enter into the kingdom / church.
MAT 21:31-32 c/w LUK 7:29-30.
3. Only those who are catechized and of faith are candidates for baptism.
MAT 28:19 c/w ACT 2:41; 8:12, 36-37.
D. They "...entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law,....to
observe and do all the commandments of the LORD...." (v.29).
1. This type of covenanting is paralleled in N.T. church building.
2. Those who come to Christ join themselves to Him by addition to His body the church. ACT 5:14 c/w 2:47; 9:26.
3. Joining oneself thus to the Lord is to take hold of His covenant.
4. When one covenants with Christ and His kingdom by faith and baptism, it is a solemn commitment to "observe and do all the commandments of the Lord..." (v.29).
LUK 14:26-33 c/w MAT 28:20.
5. One essentially enters into a curse and an oath in so subscribing to Christ. LUK 9:62; HEB 10:25-27, 38-39; 1CO 5:5.
E. v.30. The people vowed to not intermarry with the surrounding nations.
1. This was a commandment of the Law. DEU 7:2-4.
2. Provision was made in the Law for marriage to those of other nations
not slated for destruction, assuming conversion.
DEU 21:10-13 c/w RUTH 1:16; 4:10.
3. The prohibition pertained to the corrupting dangers of heathen religion and culture, not "race" or skin color.
NUM 12:1-13 c/w JER 13:23; ACT 17:26.
4. Believers are well advised to marry such as share their faith.
AMO 3:3 c/w 1CO 7:39; 2CO 6:14; MAR 3:25.
F. v.31. They resolved to keep the Sabbath, the holy days and the seventh year.
1. These were celebrations and ordinances of the Law they had received.
2. N.T. believers who are joined to the Lord are similarly obliged to keep
that which they have received.
1CO 11:2, 23-26; 2TH 2:15; 3:6; JUDE 1:3.
vs.32-39. They also covenanted to maintain the house of God and bring the appointed
A. Mind the emphasis here on rendering to God the "first...":
1. "...the firstfruits of our ground..." (v.35).
2. "...the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees..." (v.35).
3. "...the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle..." (v.36).
4. "...the firstlings of our herds..." (v.36).
5. "...the firstfruits of our dough..." (v.37).
B. PRO 3:9. "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of
all thine increase."
C. 1CO 16:2. "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in
store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
D. 2CO 8:4-5. "Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."
E. The maintenance of the house of God was/is also the support of its ministers.
F. Mind that "...the priests, the Levites, and the people..." all contributed to the
needs of the house of God.
1. Ministers who build for Christ ought to be willing to contribute to the
needs of God's house.
2. Given that the church members under the N.T. are God's temple and house (EPH 2:20-22; 1PE 2:5), ministers ought to be ready to spend for the welfare of their sheep. 2CO 11:14-15.
G. In view of the maintenance of God's house, they resolved, "...and we will not
forsake the house of our God" (v.39).
1. Delinquency in offerings for God's house is a forsaking of it; it is robbery of God. MAL 3:8-10.
2. Their commitment to not forsake the house of God did not last long.
3. Delinquency in attendance to worship may be considered a forsaking of the house of God. HEB 10:25.
4. Christ has promised to never forsake God's house (MAT 16:18 c/w EPH 3:21). How could those who truly love Him desire to do any less?
H. The entire thrust of what the people were doing was to get back to the original order of doing things as given in the Law.
1. The church in disrepair always does well to "Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works..." (REV 2:5).
2. The word of God is ever central to good building. ACT 20:32.