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God's People Renew Their Covenant with Him

(Nehemiah 10:28-33, 35-37)

Lesson 9 -- third quarter 2003
July 27, 2003

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications

Do I need to make a renewal?

The Israelites clearly had wandered from the God of their fathers and had turned their hearts away from following His ways. Their lives were characterized by disobedience to God's Word. They no longer observed His law neither taught it to their children. They had profaned their covenant with the Holy One, neglecting the very things that made them special and unique among the peoples of the planet.

They obviously needed -- desperately so -- to renew their covenant relationship with God. Their attitudes and values needed renewing. Their focus needed renewing. Their view of God needed renewing. Their knowledge and understanding needed renewing. On and on we could go, itemizing areas of renewal for God's people of Nehemiah's day. There just is no question they needed renewal. We know it. More importantly, they knew it . . . and they acknowledged it . . . and they did the right thing about it. They renewed their commitment and set forth to live by it.

But what about me? I don't think I have wandered from God, living in flagrant disobedience, like those folks did. Come to think of it, though, I'm sure there were areas of disobedience that they didn't realize were disobedience. That makes me wonder if I also might be living contrary to God's will in ways that I ignore. And that in turn reminds me of Psalm 19:12,13 which declare, "Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." Not only do I need deliverance and renewal from those errors which are known to me (presumptuous sins), but also from those which are yet unknown to me (secret faults).

So, what about me? Yes, I also need renewal!

How do we pursue renewal?

Renewal requires conscious decisions and deliberate choices. While it may be true that renewal frequently begins with a big commitment, it is equally true that renewal cannot continue without daily choices that spring from and affirm that commitment. For example, the Israelites could not coast along on the commitment they made on the occasion recorded in this lesson. Every day they made decisions that would either underpin or undermine that big commitment. Otherwise their renewal would not be preserved and continued.

"Well, yes, but what about me, today?"

Good question. By way of further example, let's say the Lord has shown you that you have become too absorbed with the things of this life. After a struggle, you acknowledge your failure, repent before God, and renew your commitment to separate yourself from the world. That's the foundational decision in your renewal in this area. For that renewal to continue, you need to build on it with everyday decisions that promote a godly focus and purpose. This may mean investing more of your time and life in outreach. It may mean getting rid of some of those prized possessions. It may mean giving more generously (and even sacrificially) to the work of the church. What else do you think such renewal would involve?

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