Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God for the privilege of public worship. Give thanks for the desire God gives to us to worship Him. Pray that God will help us, as we engage in family and personal worship.
- Confess the sin of being physically present on occasions in worship but not wholeheartedly engaged.
Doctrine for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 44 – What does the preface to the Ten Commandments teach us?
Answer – The preface to the Ten Commandments teaches us that because God is the LORD and our God and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – The preface to the Ten Commandments instructs us that they are commands given as promises to those who have been liberated by God to live for His glory.
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.”
Please ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 9:32-10:27.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Ch 9:32-38 – Covenants.
Following the prayer of praise and adoration for all of God’s goodness to His covenant people and a rehearsal of the continual cycle of blessing, disobedience, punishment, forgiveness, and restoration, there is a plea for God to intervene yet again on behalf of His own people. In joyful expectation of the favour of God, the people determine to enter into a solemn and binding covenant with God.
1. They would make a sure covenant. Israel had come to the point where they acknowledged who God was, and how they stood in relation to Him, and they wanted to bind themselves to Him solemnly and publicly. The making of a covenant with God is a solemn step which should never be taken lightly, for a covenant taken with God may be disowned and broken on the part of the human participant, but the sovereign God will always adhere to its terms and will hold the human signatories responsible to hold to their part of the agreement.
2. They wrote it down. This is an indication of the seriousness with which they took their covenanting. It is easy to forget or ignore a verbal agreement, but when it is written down and attested to with a signature it is much more difficult to ignore the consequences of the covenant.
A personal covenant made with God may only be ignored or broken at our peril – it is no less serious when a church and a nation make a solemn and binding commitment to God as the Reformed church and nation of Scotland did at the signing of the National Covenant in 1638 and the Solemn League and Covenant in 1643. Covenants which were to have a real impact on Canada through the lives of those who subsequently immigrated from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Ch 10:1-27 – Taking A Stand.
At the end of chapter 9 the people of Jerusalem had come to the point where they were willing to publicly commit themselves to God in covenant and to place their names on record as having done so. Whilst it is perfectly possible, and sometimes even advisable, to be a secret disciple, it is normally much to the glory of God for the people of God to be willing to take an open stand for Him. The public testimony for God and truth, even at the cost of suffering and death, has often caused the church of the Lord Jesus Christ to prosper and grow – the blood of the martyrs has often been the seed of the church.
This covenant was not only public, it was also attested to by all ranks in society. It was truly wonderful that the nation as a whole believed that something had to be done about their sin and their failure to serve God adequately, but it would not be valid until individual people came forward and said ‘I will covenant with God’. Here the signing was led by the leaders of the people who were then followed by the spiritual and civic leaders. But this was not a commitment made by the leaders on behalf of the people; all those who had ‘separated themselves from the peoples of the lands’ and were committed to the law of God, also joined in pledging themselves to the Lord.
One necessary requirement for the people was to have knowledge and understanding. We dare not make vows to the Lord unless we have a full understanding of exactly what it is that we are pledging ourselves to, for the Scriptures make it very clear that ‘it is better not to vow than to vow and not pay’, Ecclesiastes 5:5.
What about our own church membership vows – how careful are we to observe them with diligence?
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 104A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God for the privilege of entering, by His grace, into a covenant with Him which declares a heart love for Him. Pray for God's help to fulfil your covenant of membership, if you have made such a covenant, and your covenant of baptism, if you have entered into one in respect of our children.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC