Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God for the blessing of being free from the need to find fulfilment in life from serving many gods. Praise God that He has revealed to us the fact that He alone is to be the object of our full heart love.
- Confess the sin of failing to grasp the truth. Pray for the Lord's help that you might do so.
Doctrine for the Mind and Heart
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 45 – Which is the first commandment?
Answer – The first commandment is: You shall have no other gods before me.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – God is the only God we are to have in our lives. No one, and no thing, is to have the pre-eminent place in our hearts either ahead of, or alongside the one true God.
Verse to memorise.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 10:28-31.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Faithful in Marriage.
When people enter into an agreement, there are always terms associated with that agreement. That is no less true when that covenant is made with God. There is no need for the responsibilities on the divine side to be stated for they have constantly been outlined in the revelation that God has given to men, and as He is the unchanging God who cannot lie, there is the absolute guarantee that He will fulfil all that He has promised.
On man’s side, however, because he is so fickle, changeable, and sinful, there is an absolute need for him to state exactly what he is promising to do in the clearest possible terms. Here the promises are spelled out very plainly. The people here in the time of Nehemiah made certain very specific promises: They promised to be faithful in terms of their romantic relationships. ‘We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us, or take their daughters for our sons’. They realised how quickly the people of God can become corrupted when God’s people marry outside the faith. There is a very important principle laid down here: A follower of God should only marry another similarly committed follower of God. It is obvious by experience and observation that it is important to carefully and prayerfully choose your spouse.
The whole idea of marriage is closely connected to the idea of covenant. Malachi 2:14 says, “Yet she is your companion, and your wife by covenant.” Marriage is a covenant, between the husband and wife, between them and all family and witnesses, but most importantly, between them and God. When we understand marriage as a covenant, we have something to bond us together that is stronger than society’s expectations, more constant than romantic love, and more certain than happy times – we have a covenant.
The second area in which the people covenanted with God was in the area of business, especially as it related to keeping the Sabbath Day. It had become common practice for people to bring their produce into the city to sell and to buy from the inhabitants – there were some important principles outlined here:
1. To remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. This was something that had been known by the Jews since the giving of the law on Sinai. The problem was not lack of knowledge, but lack of obedience. At the root of the matter was greed. If they traded on the Sabbath, they would make more money than if they scrupulously observed the law of the Lord. This is a particular problem for the people of God today: many professing Christian churches no longer teach Sabbath observance, and so the people have no guidance about what God requires of them.
2. Business must be conducted in order to please God. It was those conducting business that were particularly addressed in this covenant promise. If we do not glorify God by obeying Him in the way we do our work, we cause His name to be dishonoured.
3. The land and the people must be treated with care and compassion, verse 31b. God has given to man the care of the world that He has made, and believers especially should be careful about how earth’s resources are used and preserved. Believers must also show compassion to their fellow man. This was to be demonstrated in this covenant by cancelling debts in the seventh year according to the Law of Moses.
It is important to recognise that faithfulness to God has an impact on every single aspect of our daily lives – from the kind of person we marry, to the way we conduct our business, to how we spend our Sabbath days, and to the way that we treat our world and the people who live in it.
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 104A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God for the blessing He has given us all, of having one day in seven when we can rest from our normal daily duties and focus solely on our worship of Him.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC