The people . . . are taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law.
In a couple of months summer will be here, and right in the middle of the summer comes July Fourth. Everybody remembers what July Fourth is all about. It commemorates that important date in American history when the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence. When you study the history behind that document, you will discover that it was not just about our independence from Great Britain; it was about our dependence upon God. The majority of the signers were devout, evangelical Christians, and they were committed to creating a new nation that was founded upon obedience to the law of God. Look at what John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, about the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.”
In Nehemiah chapter 10, we are going to look at a document that was written twenty-five hundred years before the Declaration of Independence. It, too, was written to celebrate the new beginning for a nation, the nation of Israel. It was signed by eighty-four men, and in this document we find, first of all, separation from the pagan nations around Israel, but also a new pledge of dedication to obeying the commands of God. The people had been away in exile, and suddenly they were exposed to the Word of God, and to the areas that they were falling short in their obedience to God. They said, “God, we are renewing our dedication to following Your commands.” Verses 28-29 say, “The people . . . are taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law, which was given through Moses, God’s servant, and to keep and to observe all the commandments of God our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes.” In other words, the people were saying, “God, we so want Your favor in our lives, we are willing to do these things to obey You. If we obey You, we are depending upon You to bless us; if we disobey You, you may curse us. Here is the contract we are going to make with You today.”
If you are a Christian, then you have also made an agreement with God. When you trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you entered into a covenant, a contract, with God. God said, “Because of what My Son has done for you by dying on the cross, I will forgive you of all of your sins.” And when you entered into that covenant, you said, “God, out of gratitude for what You have done for me, I agree to obey You the rest of my life.” You and I have a covenant responsibility, just like the Israelites did. This week we are going to look at the ways they promised to obey God in their declaration of dependence.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Declaration Of Dependence” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776, Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive, Massachusetts Historical Society, https://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/doc?id=L17760703jasecond.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org