Text: Nehemiah 9:30-10:39, Ephesians 2:8-10
Yesterday we looked at the many ways the Israelites violated their covenant with God and the many ways He remained faithful in return. Today we see the people of Israel, having repented of their sins, renew their specific obligations under the Mosaic Covenant. In other words, they vow to get it right this time around.
Their repentance leads to a renewed obedience. Isn’t that the way it should be? Is repentance without renewed obedience really repentance at all?
I would like to say no. I would like to pause for a drumroll and unveil some easy-to-remember formula that enables us to obey every. single. time. But the truth is, the gospel is not about formulas; it is simply about putting our trust in Jesus. It is about turning to Him again and again. And again.
The people of Israel are renewing their covenant with the Lord. They are doing so publicly and as a community. They are putting it in writing, they are signing on the dotted line. They are making specific, practical promises to God and his Church. Even though their history is full of disobedience and disappointment, they dare to name their offenses aloud before the Lord and pledge a new obedience to Him.
I want to be so daring. I want to receive the freedom of Christ so freshly with each prayer that I declare aloud and anew my allegiance to Him. Even though I will never get it exactly right, I want the guts to try.
God’s law asks more than our human brokenness can give. It did then and it does now. And so there is Christ.
There is the One who fulfills the law on our behalf.
Let us renew our covenant with Him today and believe that He will meet us. As a community, let us pray earnestly and with new fervor with the Psalmist:
Create in us a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within us.
Cast us not away from your presence
and take not your Holy Spirit from us.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation,
and uphold us with a willing spirit. Amen.
(adapted from Psalm 51:10-12, ESV)