The Dedication And Failure

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We’ve all been there – filled with determination and resolve, making grand commitments and goals to change. But how long did that motivation last when challenges came? As humans, we know our weaknesses all too well.

The story of ancient Israel reveals this same struggle, as a people so committed to God one day failed him the next. Their inspiring dedication and disastrous downfall hold an important lesson for us today. If we wish to truly follow God, we cannot rely on our own strength or resolve alone. There is a better way – a hope stronger than any commitment we can make.

As we finish our study of Nehemiah, we will see Israel in their highest high of commitment… and their lowest low of failure. But their experience points us to the only true source of strength and perseverance. By the end, may we understand more fully what it means to dedicate ourselves to God Рand what it means to depend completely on the one who alone is faithful.

  • In chapter 10, the Israelites made commitments to dedicate themselves to God by being holy and distinct, ordering their lives around God (particularly keeping the Sabbath), and prioritizing worship.
  • However, in chapter 13 it shows their failure to keep these commitments – they forsook the temple, broke the Sabbath, and intermarried with other nations in disobedience to God. This shows that while we should dedicate ourselves to God, we cannot depend on or trust in our own dedication or commitment.
  • We will fail, as the Israelites did. The only hope is placing our faith and dependence on Jesus, who absorbs our sin and shame through his death on the cross. Even when we fail, he will carry us through his power and spirit at work in us. We should be committed to God, but depend on him, not our own commitment or effort.

Brothers and sisters, we have seen the timeless truth play out before us – we will fail in our commitments without a power greater than ourselves. But through Jesus, we can find that power at work within us. When we place our full trust and dependence on him, his Spirit enables us to withstand temptation and remain steadfast in holiness.

So today, dedicate yourself anew to following Christ. But do not rely on your own will or effort – rest only in his. Remember that when you stumble, he is there to pick you up and keep guiding your steps. Let his love and grace motivate you to continual repentance and reforming your life. And when you see others falter, approach them not with anger or scorn, but with compassion, ready to point them also to the only true source of strength. If we fix our eyes on Jesus together, he will build us up to be the faithful people he died to create.

Verses

Nehemiah 10, Nehemiah 11, Nehemiah 12, Nehemiah 13

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