Chapter 9: The Israelites Confess Their Sins
The people start out in fasting and prayer. “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.” (v5)
“You are the Lord God, who chose Abram…” (v7)
The people are reminded of who God is and what He has done. God has to be defined since at this time the people are worshipping many other gods. It is just as important to us to remember who God is and what He has done for us. The people of Israel needed to reminded of this a lot. The Old Testament is full of God telling the people of these very things. We also need to remember Him by spending time with Him: by studying His Word and worshipping in prayer. We can’t forget that He is greater than anything else that we might be idolizing: money, job, boyfriend, a baby… you fill in the blank with your own idol.
“But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” (v31)Are you reminding yourself of who He is and what He has done? Allow Him to be gracious and merciful to you.
Chapter 10: The Agreement of the People
Soon after the people had learned and understood what was being taught, a contract was made. Nehemiah was the first to sign the agreement that they would obey the Law of God. All the men followed, leading their wives and children by example. The men are like “ok we are doing this! Come on family… I will lead you.”
The people also agreed on tithing: “And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all the towns where we work.” (v37)
Only the Levites could become the priests (but not all were priests.)
Tithes are a 10th of their income, or here: their crops. Giving the Lord a tenth of your income was first mentioned in Genesis 28: the story commonly called Jacob’s Ladder (verses 10-22) “and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” (v22)
It is interesting that one of the first things to be restored once the wall is built is the practice of tithing. Nehemiah tells us that when a tithe is not brought in, it is neglect to the house of God. “We will not neglect the house of our God.” (v39)What do you think of that? Is the tithe still important today? Are you tithing from your “firstfruits of crops”? Or just a little bit what’s leftover and not being used? (sorry if I’m getting your face a little bit, but this is important to consider)
Tithing is the one thing that God says to test Him. Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this.’ Says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’”Have you seen blessing come from your tithes and offerings?