September 9

Nehemiah 10:28-29 28"The rest of the people–priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand– 29all these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.

After the people had confessed their sins and repented, they took the difficult step of making things right with God. Then they went one step further. They took an oath. They realized how easily they slid back into the ways that destroyed the nation before, so they took an oath binding themselves with a curse if they broke it. The oath begins with the very things they had been most likely to compromise, marrying heathen wives, trading on the Sabbath, and not keeping the seventh-year release of debts and rest for the land.

We know the areas in our lives where we are most likely to compromise. It is usually in the same areas that Israel had problems, sex and money. They got serious about their weaknesses. They pledged together that if any of them went down that road again they would be justly cursed. How serious are you about sin in your life? Is it enough to make it very costly to do so? They took the curse quite seriously. They had seen the pain and devastation that sin caused and said, "If we go there, we deserve what we reap." Have you observed the price of sin in your life? Have you really tallied up the cost of rebellion against the Holy Spirit? I'm not suggesting you take an oath unless you are led to do so, but I am suggesting you deal with your fleshly tendencies to go back down that road of compromise.

Most of the rest of the oath had to do with financial obligations to the temple and the commitment to keep the worship ministry alive and well. We have the same obligations in a spiritual sense. The temple is the family of God. Are we loving the body of Christ, or ignoring one another's needs? Are our gatherings for worship as He commanded, "worship in spirit and in truth"?

Consider: Once you repent of sin and make restitution, go the next step. Ask the Lord to show you a deterrent to keep you from going down that road again.