“The people and the Levites must bring these offerings of grain, new wine, and olive oil to the Temple and place them in the sacred containers near the ministering priests, the gatekeepers, and the singers. So we promise together not to neglect the Temple of our God.” – Nehemiah 10:39
Nehemiah, the governor of Jerusalem while it was being rebuilt, had helped the people to find their roots again. After a reading of God’s law, the people “bound themselves with an oath” (Nehemiah 10:29) to obey God and follow his commands, laws, and regulations. The people promised to support the priests and the Levites, and “not to neglect the Temple of our God” (Nehemiah 10:35-39). But at some point, Nehemiah had gone back to Babylon (Nehemiah 13:6), and when he returned to Jerusalem, he found that the people had not kept their promises. They had not supported the Levites who were to conduct the worship services, so the Levites had left their temple duties and returned to work their fields so they could eat (Nehemiah 13:10).
Nehemiah restored the Levites back to their proper duties, and then the people followed through on their promise and began bringing their tithes to the temple again (Nehemiah 13:11-12).
We all have a responsibility to our place of worship and to the people who have been called to serve there. God calls some people to lay down their secular work altogether and commit themselves full time to ministry. In the same breath, God calls those of us who retain gainful employment to provide materially for those who minister to us spiritually. When we join a church, we commit to this responsibility. But people cannot live just on our promises, so we must not fall short. May we follow through with our gifts and support that the work of the church may go forward.
For Further Study: Nehemiah 10:28-39
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.