And that brings us into chapter 10. This chapter consists entirely of the Jews’ promise to God in light of their disturbing cycle of disobedience. Verses 1 through 27 give the names of each leader who was signing his name to this resolution. And here’s what they agree to. Verse 29 – they would keep the Law of Moses. What does that look like? Verse 30 – they won’t intermarry with pagans. Verse 31 – they won’t buy wares from pagans on holy days. Neither will they harvest their crops on the 7th year or collect on debts from their Jewish brothers. Verse 32 – they’d give 1/3 of a shekel for the Temple service. Verse 34 – they’d bring wood to the Temple for the sacrifices. Verse 35 – they’d bring the firstfruits of their produce to the Temple. And verse 36 – they’d bring the firstborn of their sons and animals to the Temple. They say more in verses 37 through 39. But the gist of it is at the end of verse 39. They would not forsake God’s house, the Temple. And that’s actually what the promises from verse 32 to the end of the chapter aim at – not forsaking the Temple. So in summary, the people promise to not forsake God’s word or his place of worship. That was the Jews’ New Year’s resolution.
So how can we apply this last scene to making God-Honoring New Year’s resolutions? If you’ve been following whole-heartedly this message then you’ve already resolved to understand God’s word and then live it out, even in the seeming insignificant or inconvenient parts. And I think this is kind of reflected again in the Jews’ promise to not forsake God’s word. They were going to understand it and live it. So what’s the new emphasis in this section that we haven’t seen thus far? How about the part about the Temple, God’s place of worship? It’s excellent to be seeking and practicing God’s word. But remembed that in God’s word he specifies that we should gather with his people and not forsake that assembly. But it’s not as if we should just file into the building and leave without being an influence on our brethren for good. We’re supposed to provoke one another. No, we’re not supposed to be provoking each other to anger, but to love and good works. So would you resolve to not take our assembling together lightly? Would you resolve to appropriately and tastefully be more involved in the lives of your brethren? To be more attentive to their needs? To encourage and up-lift? To pray for one another? And to live your life in such a way that we could all come together and truly worship our great God together in a spirit of unity and harmony?
So would you think this is an appropriate and God-honoring News Year’s resolution? I resolve this year to make every attempt to understand and live God’s word, even when it seems insignificant or inconvenient, and to not forsake God’s people or our assembling together.