Sunday School Material 10-29-17: God's Covenant With the Returned Exiles

(Nehemiah 9:32-38; 10:28-29; 10/29/17)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that the people of God are praying and committing themselves to obedience. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on praying together and committing ourselves to obedience.

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Read Nehemiah 9:32-37

I. Pleading With God. The people of God are praying to God. In our Sunday School material, they acknowledge that God has been faithful. However, they have been disobedient. The people are living in distress because of their sins.

Applications –

- Collective prayer. Notice in vss. 32-37 that all the people are praying in this Sunday School material. It is not just one person praying for the others. In like manner, we would do well to make time to pray collectively.

We should make time to pray together about the goodness of the Lord, our sins, our needs, and our commitments to obedience. As much as we should, too many times we don’t. Let’s work on doing better with collective praying.

- God’s awesomeness. Notice in vss. 32-33 that God is described as great, mighty, awesome, a promise keeper, remained righteous, and acted faithfully. All of this is so true about our God. Let’s live like we really believe this.

Such living should be noted for obedience and joy. At the core of obedience are the issues of making sure you have accepted Jesus as your savior by faith and loving God and others, as you love yourself. You can be joyful in knowing that God is working things out for the good of His people.

- In the midst of our blessings. Notice in vss. 33-35 that the people acted wickedly in God’s eyes, while enjoying the blessings of God. In like manner, if we are not careful, we will find ourselves sinning during our blessings.

A noted sin of the text is lack of serving the Lord. When we do nothing to help God’s program, we are sinning. This should make us think about, what do we do to help God’s church improve? What do we do to make our communities godlier?

We may be doing alright in our eyes and the eyes of others. However, it is God’s eyes that matter. Let’s work on obeying God, during our blessings, instead of sinning in the midst of our blessings.

- Skipping distress. Notice in vss. 36-37 that the people were slaves in the land they were supposed to be enjoying. They were distressed, instead of filled with joy and gratitude. All of this was because of their sins.

In like manner, our sins will lead to our distress. Instead of going through all of that, why don’t we just repent, now? Let’s work on repenting of our sins, so we can skip some distress.

Read Nehemiah 9:38; 10:28-29

II. Pleading to God. There is the making of a serious covenant between the people and God. IN our Sunday School material, The people promise to obey God’s will. There is a document and affixing of seals. There is mention of oaths and curses. 

Applications –

- Covenant keeping. Notice in vs. 38 that there was a collective written and binding agreement to obey the Lord. It seems as if things must get really bad for us to sign our names and lifted our voices in commitment to the Lord with disciplinary consequences for failure to obey.

“Yes,” we have church covenants, but so many people are not living by the covenant. And nothing happens when we don’t obey the covenant. We would be a stronger church and stronger disciples, if we held each other accountable for living by what we already said we would do.

Leaders should be in the front of this type of effort. Let’s work on being accountable covenant keepers. 

- Every member. Notice in vss. 28-29 that even though the leaders essentially signed the covenant (signets), all the people were a part of the covenant. There were negative consequences for breaking the covenant.

In like manner, every member of the church should feel obligated to working on their discipleship and playing their role in the church. There should be consequences to obedience and disobedience.

Let’s work on being a greater church for our great God. Unfortunately, many will not give these things serious attention, until they have suffered more distress.

Conclusion: Let’s work on praying together and committing to obedience. God has much for those who obey His will.

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