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The Need for Renewal

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | December 23, 2023 | Nehemiah 9:38

 


KEY VERSE:

 “In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it." Nehemiah 9:38 (NIV)

 

MESSAGE:

In Nehemiah 9:38, we witness a powerful moment of commitment as the Israelites renew their covenant with God. They learned about themselves. They learned about God. They made a sincere effort to strengthen their connection with God by renewing their covenant. This intentional act of covenant renewal was a sincere and purposeful choice to reaffirm their connection with God and dedicate themselves to His principles. The renewal of our covenant with God goes beyond mere words; it demands a profound transformation of our hearts and lifestyles. It is about reevaluating our priorities, aligning our actions with God’s will, and dedicating ourselves anew to Him. It is a process of recommitting ourselves to the values and principles that God has laid out in His Word, promising once again to follow Him wholeheartedly.

 

The context reveals a humble acknowledgement of their dependence on God. In times of spiritual dryness or waywardness, there is a profound need to renew our commitment to the Lord. The people of Nehemiah's time recognised the importance of a deliberate, binding agreement to bring about spiritual renewal. We notice the involvement of leaders, Levites, and priests in affixing their seals. This highlights the communal nature of renewal. Leaders are crucial in guiding the community towards a renewed commitment to God, emphasising the collective responsibility for spiritual revival.

 

Consider tangible steps or commitments you can make in your journey of renewal. How can you actively express your dedication to God in a binding manner? Reflect on specific aspects of your life—spiritual, emotional, or relational—that may require renewal. Identify areas where you may have drifted and need to re-establish a covenant with God. Consider how you can play a supportive role in the renewal journeys of those around you, fostering a sense of collective commitment to God.

 

FEET AND HANDS FOR THE MESSAGE:

How can you apply this lesson to your life? Are you still walking in line with God’s Word? Have you drifted away from the commitments you once made? Renewing your covenant with God might mean setting aside time for prayer and reflection, seeking forgiveness for your shortcomings, and making concrete plans to strengthen your faith. It is a beautiful opportunity to deepen your relationship with God and rekindle your passion for His purpose in your life.

 

PRAYER:

Dear Lord, given my need for renewal, I come before you with an open heart. I acknowledge my dependence on you and recognize the areas in our lives that need restoration. Lord, help me make binding agreements, and commitments that signify my earnest desire for a renewed relationship with you. Thank you for the promise of renewal and the grace to walk in your ways. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSINGS. SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!!

 

DAILY word study: BINDING AGREEMENT

The phrase "binding agreement" in Nehemiah 9:38 is translated from the Hebrew words "וּבִרְית־אָמָ֔ן" (u'virith-aman). "בְּרִית" (berith) commonly means covenant, and "אָמַן" (aman) implies something that is firm, trustworthy, or faithful. Thus, a "binding agreement" reflects a covenant that is steadfast and reliable.


Covenants play a significant role in the Bible, representing solemn agreements between God and His people or between individuals. They often outline expectations, promises, and the consequences of fulfilling or breaking the covenant.

Biblical Examples:

  1. Genesis 15:18 (NIV): "On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, 'To your descendants, I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.'"

  2. Exodus 34:10 (NIV): "Then the Lord said: 'I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.'"

  3. Jeremiah 31:31-32 (NIV): "The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt..."


In Nehemiah 9:38, the emphasis isn't just on the legal aspect of the covenant. The Israelites confess their past failures and express a genuine desire to follow God's ways. This "binding agreement" isn't just a duty, but a declaration of love. It's a promise to walk hand-in-hand with God, not out of fear, but out of a deep desire to be close to Him.


This concept holds immense relevance for us today. Though we may not have the same rituals or laws, we can still make a "binding agreement" with God. It's a commitment to prioritize Him in our lives, to seek His guidance, and to live according to His values. It's not about rigid rules but about a willing heart and a desire to walk in His light.

Reflections: What does your "binding agreement" with God look like? Is it simply a set of rules, or is it a vibrant expression of love and devotion? Take some time today to reflect on your relationship with God. Can you deepen your commitment? Can you find new ways to "cut" your promise to Him into the fabric of your daily life?


Remember, our "binding agreement" with God isn't a burden, but a beautiful gift. It's a chance to walk in His love, find purpose in His will, and experience the joy of a life truly bound by Him.

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