Main Idea: When the people began to learn of what their God had done for them and how He was to be worshipped and obeyed, they knew they had to respond in a real and tangible way. Among all of the things that Nehemiah could have focused on, he drew the attention of the people to just three or four main things: Lordship, Relationships, Work and Faith, and Giving.
Study Guide: The following content is based on the message “My Lord, My God” spoken on 12/2/12 by Brian Kruckenberg at New City Church in Phoenix, AZ. The following is not meant to be a full synopsis of the message but rather a brief look at the main ideas. For more context and understanding, please visitwww.newcityphx.com/media and listen to the message in its entirety.
Leaders using this Study Guide for group study and reflection should read the Biblical text thoroughly before beginning, using this resource as assistance and not relying solely on this material for insight. We encourage all leaders to pray and ask the Spirit for revelation as they lead their respective communities.
Nehemiah 10:28 “The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, 29 join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter into a curse and 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. 30 We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons. 31 And if the peoples of the land bring in goods or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day. And we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.
32 “We also take on ourselves the obligation to give yearly a third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: 33 for the showbread, the regular grain offering, the regular burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts, the holy things, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God. 34 We, the priests, the Levites, and the people, have likewise cast lots for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at times appointed, year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the Law. 35 We obligate ourselves to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the Lord; 36 also to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God, the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks; 37 and to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring to the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor.
The Main Idea. The people of Israel had just had the Word of God read to them. Many of them were hearing it for the very first time! When the people began to learn of what their God had done for them and how He was to be worshipped and obeyed, they knew they had to respond in a real and tangible way. Among all of the things that Nehemiah could have focused on, he drew the attention of the people to just three or four main things.
Lordship: First, Nehemiah writes that the people must obey the commandments of“the Lord … our Lord.” The words he uses here are the words for “Yahweh” (the Lord over all…the one who has no beginning and no end) and my “Master,” (the Lord over my life). He teaches that the Lord is massive, yet so personal He guides our very lives.
Relationship/Marriage. Next, Nehemiah reminds the people that marriage must remain between those who love God. Just as it was “dangerous” for Israelites to marry those who didn’t believe in God or worship Him (see 1 Kings 11), Nehemiah reminds the people the same is true for them, and for us today. When we marry someone, we are becoming one with them and that isn’t possible when two people don’t carry the same value set and see the world the same way.
Work and Faith. Nehemiah then instructs people how to work and transact business according to God’s word, namely by resting and honoring the Sabbath. God created the world with a rhythm of work and rest and He expects us to do the same. Often we are tempted to work and not rest because we don’t trust that God can and will provide, that 5 or 6 days of hard work is enough.
Giving to the movement of God. Finally, Nehemiah reminds them of the different ways that God’s people give to His kingdom: 1. giving to the Levites. 2. giving for the use of the temple and the great feasts. 3. giving to the poor. In the New Testament, Jesus reminds us of our responsibility to give (Matt. 23:23) and Paul writes about this extensively in 1 Cor. 9.
- What does it mean when someone or something is “lord” over you life?
- Is Jesus your “Lord?” Give some examples as to your “yes,” “no,” or “sometimes.”
- If single, do you date non-Christians? Do you think the Scripture “allows” this?
- If married, discuss how you and your spouses’ worldview impacts your relationship.
- Do you consider how God cares about your work? Is work just “work” to you?
- Why does God call us to give? Or, perhaps you don’t think giving is a big deal. Discuss.
- Why don’t we give?
- What do you expect from the church regarding the idea of ministries or services it provides?