Nehemiah 10:28-29 – “The rest of the people…all who have knowledge and understanding…enter into…an oath to walk in God’s Law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord and his rules and his statutes.”
In politics, business, and religion, commands tend to come from the top down. In Nehemiah 10, we witness an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and people’s response as they commit to living in covenant relationship with God and one another. Their response is not top down, but instead inside out. As their hearts and desires are changed through hearing God’s Word preached and repenting of their sin, God’s people publicly commit themselves and their families to living by godly principles.
In some ways, this chapter of Nehemiah is a bit like a family mission statement that numerous families agree to so that they would live united as God’s people on God’s mission. Once a mission statement is adopted, the decisions that follow can be made in light of the principles and priorities guiding life. Imagine a nation without founding legal documents enshrining their form of government, a business without a mission statement, or a sports league without a rulebook and then ask yourself if you and your family have a mission statement that guides your decision-making.
Those who signed the covenant include the leader Nehemiah and his assistant, along with the priests (like a pastor today) who are listed by their family names as they signed on behalf of their extended families (10:2-8), the Levites (like ministry staff and leaders) who helped the priests to teach and care for the people (10:9-13), followed by 44 prominent leadership families, along with everyone else who was faithfully serving God in this Old Testament Church in various ministry services (10:28-29). Essentially all of God’s people agreed to sign a covenant binding them to certain obligations not because they had to, but because they wanted to out of love for God and one another.
Does your family have a mission statement that guides your decision-making throughout life? If not, would you be willing to create one?