Imagine having your name written down for all of prosperity to read that you have affixed your seal to a binding agreement with God. Would you rejoice to be counted? Nehemiah carefully recorded the names of the men who had covenanted with God so everyone would know. I think that if it were me, the recording of my name would make me be very careful about my conduct so that I would not dishonor the covenant I made. But when you think about it, isn’t it true of all Christians? Our name has been written in the book of Life forever, we bear the name of Christ. That should make us more conscious of our conduct. In this chapter, we learn that God’s people must be holy because they bear his name.
Like the Israelites we are called to a Holy standard of conduct. We are not supposed to live like everyone else in the world who doesn’t know the Lord. Our choices should be honoring to God; we don’t live as if there is no accountability, but we live a life pleasing to the Lord knowing that we will one day give an account to Him. What would holy living look like in your home?
God commanded the Israelites to be a separate nation and to not mix with the surrounding countries. He did this not because the surrounding countries were less deserving of God’s love. The Israelites showed over and over again that they didn’t deserve the grace that God bestowed on them. It was to keep their focus on serving the Lord and living holy lives. This was foreign to the other nations and these surrounding nations would not be good influences on them.
The standard of living for the Lord is something that we don’t often see even solid Christian communities. God wanted his people to be completely loyal to him and to serve him alone. He had a standard of giving so that those in full time ministry would not lack. So often we bring God our leftovers. We pray as we drift into sleep at the end of a day, we put off Bible Study because we have a full and busy schedule. We excuse our raw words or selfishness as understandable given our conditions, but God has a much higher standard for us than we often have for ourselves.
God called the Israelites to consecrate to the Lord, their first and their best as an indication of their loyalty and commitment to service. We see the Israelites having confessed their sins rededicating themselves to the Lord. Thank God for his grace and mercy in our lives and his long suffering toward us as we sin, confess and rededicate ourselves over and over. What would I be willing to sacrifice as a token of my loyalty? Have I ever truly sacrificed at all? As I grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I find that I learn more about how to live holy and what sacrifice really means. It makes me all the more grateful to be adopted by him and to want to live a holy life.