December 25, Reading 1 – Nehemiah 13

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Verses 14,22,31 capture the reason for the season, as they say: Remember me, O my God! Hallelujah! He has remembered us.

SJA Notes

There’s a lot to wrestle with in this passage.

Nehemiah’s repeating (as previous) cries for the Lord to both remember his work / what he has done, and to remember what the enemies of God have done.

There’s the fierceness from Nehemiah in protecting both the Sabbath and the nature of marriage for Israel.

Nehemiah wasn’t afraid of a little fisticuffs it seems, he got stuck in!

On one hand, it seems like Nehemiah is a zealot, passion and violence mixed in with fervour.

Jesus took these understandings and made them deeper. We know this, we’ve seen this throughout our readings of this first half of the OT.

Jesus gives us a deeper knowledge, the reality of the shadow that we read of here.

So it’s good to check on our own zealousness for the Lord. Are we zealous (but not zealots) for the things of the Lord?

And bound up in that is the THRILL OF HOPE that we remember at Christmas time.

Not to be zealots only knowing the letter of the law, without compassion.

Instead to be so overwhelmed with the hope of what Jesus brought, and what He brings today, that we cannot but reflect Him, point to Him, tell people about Him, do what He tells us – The thrill of hope for a broken world!

December 23, Reading 1 – Nehemiah 10, 11

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

The Scots Covenanters took their practice of public or group covenants from passages such as this in chapter 10. The believers covenant to reform their lives and behaviour in certain specific areas. The list of settlers confirms for them and us the great fact that God has kept His promise through the Prophet Jeremiah – Jeremiah 29:10.

SJA Notes

Here is the crunch!

All of God’s people come together. The elders, the teachers and preachers, the church administrators, the heads of local, state and national government, and all the people. Together in one accord.

They covenanted to not intermarry with unbelievers, to keep the Sabbath holy, the give back to the Lord from what He has given to them, not neglecting God’s house.

They bound themselves in obligation to the Lord, willingly.

One thought that popped into my head reading this was – So what happened? By the time of Jesus, what had happened to these covenants?

It’s what we have seen throughout this entire year of readings.

We cannot keep covenant! A generation might remain faithful, but then a new generation rises up that rejects the Lord! It’s happened from the beginning, all the way to now.

Praise God that in Jesus He keeps both sides of the covenant for us! We fail and go astray, but He doesn’t! And in Him (and Him alone) we can covenant to walk in obedience under Him, striving day by day to walk in His paths, to be more and more like Jesus (only through His power).

Hallelujah!