OBEDIENCE CALLS FOR CONFIDENT COMMITMENT - Nehemiah 10

Shalom family, praise our Mighty Sovereign and Saviour,  יהושע Messiah, for we recognise His great and wonderful loving-commitment towards us in that He forever remains true and lovingly committed to The Covenants of Promise made with Aḇraham, Yitsḥaq and Ya’aqoḇ, of which we were once strangers to and having no expectation and without Elohim in the world, yet now ‘in’ Messiah  יהושע we have been brought near by the Blood of Messiah. His steadfast commitment and love toward us ought to continually cause us to be steadfast and lovingly committed toward Him, in guarding to do all He has commanded us to do, aměn! After all we have been bought at a price and our love toward our Saviour, Redeemer and Mighty King should be clearly evident in our daily commitment toward Him; as we know that Yoḥanan tells us that love for Elohim is to guard His commands, which are in no way heavy!

We all desire, I am sure, to be obedient each and every moment of our lives, yet why is it that we often find ours actions falling short of the earnest confession of our lips? In a message tonight called, “OBEDIENCE CALLS FOR CONFIDENT COMMITMENT”, I would like us to be challenged and stirred to make every effort in ensuring that our commitment to walk in His ways is continually reinforced with great confidence, and will be clearly evidenced through our continual obedience without compromise. Turn with me to Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 10 (read).

The setting for this chapter is as follows: The walls of Yerushalayim had been rebuilt and along with Ezra, Neḥemyah was restoring the true order that obedient Torah living calls for; and this was certainly needed as true commitment to  יהוה had been lost as a result of their disobedience, which caused them to be sent into Baḇelonian and Persian captivity. This chapter is a wonderful picture of renewal, and is the two preceding chapters before this we see that Chapter 8 starts by telling us what took place on the Day of Trumpets after the construction of the walls had been completed and family lines been established and how the people responded to the Torah with all their heart, mind and will – and that is that we respond by applying our mind, using the very intellect and ability He has given us to be available to hear and receive the Word. And so we daily renew our minds and recognise that understanding the Torah begins with being available to hear the Torah and giving attention to the Torah! We also respond to the Torah with a rejoicing heart as Yirmeyahu says in:

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. For Your Name is called on me, O יהוה Elohim of hosts.

Are you rejoicing as His name is called upon you?

We also respond to the Torah with our ‘will’ as we pledge to obey – that is to HEAR-GUARD-DO His Word, as we ‘pledge our allegiance’ to the Torah, to His Word, and to His Loving instructions!

I gave a message on this chapter 2 years back called, ‘Responding to the Torah’ looking at these three ways we are to be responding and encourage you to go and check out the notes online!

Chapter 9 we see that having come through their first Yom Teruah and Sukkot together in ages, on the 24th day they fasted and acknowledged their rebellion and confessed their sins and the crookednesses of their fathers. They were commanded to stop mourning on Yom Teruah, the first of the 7th month and then they discovered the instructions for Sukkot and carried them out faithfully, without their being any mention of Yom Kippur which falls in between them. As soon as they were permitted to fast after the feast of rejoicing, we find them doing so with great urgency, possibly to fulfil the obligations for Yom Kippur, which may have been missed. But also, after hearing the Torah read during the Feast of Sukkot and experiencing a taste of the Kingdom and its joy, the reality of how short they had fallen weighed heavily on them. Many were still in exile, and the city was not yet complete, although the walls had been rebuilt and so where they stood they recognized that fasting, prayer and intercession was the logical next step.

At the end of chapter 9 we see the pledge of their commitment to The Torah being put in writing, with the rulers, the Lěwites and the priests setting their seal on it.

And then we come to chapter 10 that we have just read and see how they acted upon their prayers and confession of their mouths and what was written, and committed themselves by making an oath to walk in the Torah.

84 men set their seal on the pledge of all the people as they were very serious about their trustworthy pledge to walk in the Torah. The Hebrew word used in Chapter 9:38 for ‘trustworthy pledge’ is the noun  אֲמָנָה  amanah – Strong’s H548 and means, faith, support, agreement, firm regulation, binding written agreement – of a covenant or financial support and is used only twice in Scripture and both times in this book. The second occurrence is in 11:23 as the commandment was given for the ‘support’ of the singers. This word comes from the primitive root verb - אָמַן  aman – Strong’s H539 which means, confirm, support, establish, faithful, believe.

We see a sure commitment by a people who were so confident in their commitment that they put in writing and we recognise that this serious commitment is evidenced by the fact that all 84 names of those who set their seal on their binding pledge were forever written as a record in the Scriptures to be a binding witness for us all.

For their names to be found recorded in the Tanak is clear evidence of how serious they were and יהוה therefore has set their names forever in His Word! Now I know you all know how excited I get when I see a list of names in Scripture, and here we have a list of 86 names with 2 of them being mentioned as being fathers of two of the 84 who set their seal on the pledge/commitment to walk in the Torah. Now while this is a great list and recognising the tendency to see any possible message they may be contained herein, I chose to simply just list their names and meanings for you without trying to extract a meaning that may or may not be there. One thing is certain, and that is as we look at all the meaning of the names we see how we serve an awesome and lovingly-committed Elohim, who despite our backgrounds has called us unto Himself and given us the seal of His love toward us in His own Blood!

Let us therefore run through the list of names, as I feel that the fact that they are mentioned in Scripture deserves our need to reflect on these ardent and committed men who put their name on the line!!!

Neḥemyah  - נְחֶמְיָה  Strong’s H5166 – ‘יהוה comforts;

son of Ḥaḵalyah -  חֲכַלְיָה  Strong’s H2446 – ‘whom יהוה enlightens or wait for יהוה

Tsiḏqiyah - צִדְקִיָּה  - Strong’s H6667 – ‘יהוה is my righteousness’; Serayah - שְׂרָיָה  - Strong’s H8304 – ‘Yah is ruler’;

Azaryahעֲזַרְיָה  - Strong’s H5838 – ‘יהוה has helped’;  Yirmeyah - יִרְמְיָה  - Strong’s H3414 – ‘יהוה has appointed’;

Pashur - פַּשְׁחוּר  - Strong’s H6583 – ‘liberation’; Amaryahאֲמַרְיָה Strong’s H568 – ‘יהוה has promised’;

Malkiyahמַלְכִּיָּה Strong’s H4441 – ‘My king is יהוה’; Ḥattush חַטּוּשׁ Strong’s H2407 – ‘assembled’;

Sheḇanyah שְׁבַנְיָה Strong’s H7645 – ‘increased by יהוה’; Malluḵ  - מַלּוּךְ Strong’s H4409 – ‘counsellor’;

Ḥarimחָרִם Strong’s H2766 – ‘dedicated’; Merĕmothמְרֵמוֹת Strong’s H4822 – ‘elevations

Oḇaḏyah עֹבַדְיָה Strong’s H5662 – ‘servant of יהוה’; Dani’ĕlדָּנִיֵּאל Strong’s H1840 – ‘my El is judge’;

Ginnethon גִּנְּתוֹןStrong’s H1599 – ‘gardener’; Baruḵ - בָּרוּךְStrong’s H1263 – ‘blessed’;

Meshullamמְשֻׁלָּם Strong’s H4918 – ‘friend/man of peace’; Aḇiyahאֲבִיָּה Strong’s H29 – ‘יהוה is my father’;

Miyamin מִיָּמִן Strong’s H4326 – ‘from the right hand’; Maʽazyah מַעַזְיָהStrong’s H4590 – ‘consolation of יהוה’;

Bilgai בִּלְגַּיStrong’s H1084 – ‘my cheerfulness’; Shemayah שְׁמַעְיָה Strong’s H8098 – ‘heard by יהוה’;

These were the priests.

 

And the Lěwites:

Yĕshuaיֵשׁוּעַ Strong’s H3442 – ‘saved, deliverance

son of Atsanyah – אֲזַנְיָה Strong’s H245 – ‘יהוה hears’;

Binnui  - בִּנּוּי Strong’s H1131 – ‘built up’;

of the sons of Ḥĕnaḏaḏ - חֵנָדָד Strong’s H2582 – ‘favour of Haḏaḏ’;

Qaḏmi’ĕlקַדְמִיאֵל Strong’s H6934 – ‘El is the ancient one’;

 

And their brothers:

Sheḇanyah שְׁבַנְיָה Strong’s H7645 – ‘increased by יהוה’; Hoḏiyah הוֹדִיָּה Strong’s H1941 – ‘my majesty is יהוה’;

Qelitaקְלִיטָא Strong’s H7042 – ‘crippled’; Pelayahפְּלָיָה Strong’s H6411 – ‘יהוה does wonders’;

Ḥananחָנָן Strong’s H2605 – ‘favour/ he is merciful’; Miḵa מִיכָא Strong’s H4316 – ‘who is like him’;

Reḥoḇ - רְחֹב Strong’s H7340 – ‘broad place’; Ḥashaḇyah חֲשַׁבְיָה Strong’s H2811 – ‘יהוה has considered’;

Zakkurזַכּוּר Strong’s H2139 – ‘mindful’; Shĕrĕḇyah שֵׁרֵֽבְיָה Strong’s H8274 – ‘יהוה has scorched’;

Sheḇanyah שְׁבַנְיָה Strong’s H7645 – ‘increased by יהוה’; Hoḏiyah הוֹדִיָּה Strong’s H1941 – ‘my majesty is יהוה’;

Baniבָּנִי Strong’s H1137 – ‘built’; Beninuבְּנִ֑ינוּ Strong’s H1148 – ‘our son’;

 

The leaders of the people:

Paroshפַּרְעשׁ Strong’s H6551 – ‘flea’; Paḥath-Mo’aḇ - פַּחַת מוֹאָב Strong’s H6355 – ‘pit of Mo’aḇ̱’;

Ěylamעֵילָם Strong’s H5867 – ‘eternity’; Zattuזַתּוּא Strong’s H2240 – ‘brightness of him’;

Bani - בָּנִי Strong’s H1137 – ‘built’; Bunniבֻּנִּי Strong’s H1138 – ‘built’;

Azgaḏ - עַזְגָּד Strong’s H5803 – ‘gaḏ is mighty’; Bĕḇai בֵּבַי Strong’s H893 – ‘my cavities’;

Aḏoniyah אֲדֹנִיָּהוּ Strong’s H138 – ‘my master is יהוה’; Biḡwai בִּגְוַי Strong’s H902 – ‘in my bodies’;

Aḏin עָדִין Strong’s H5720 – ‘delicate’; Atĕrאָטֵר Strong’s H333 – ‘binder’;

Ḥizqiyahחִזְקִיָּה Strong’s H2396 - ‘יהוה is my strength’; Azzurעַזּוּר Strong’s H5809 – ‘he that assists’;

Hoḏiyah הוֹדִיָּה Strong’s H1941 – ‘my majesty is יהוה’; Ḥashumחָשֻׁם Strong’s H2828 – ‘rich’;

Bĕtsaiבֵּצָ֑י Strong’s H1209 – ‘conqueror’; Ḥariphחָרִיף Strong’s H2756 – ‘a plucking off’;

Anathoth עֲנָתוֹת Strong’s H6068 – ‘answers to prayer’; Nĕḇai נוֹבָ֑י Strong’s H5109 – ‘fruitful’;

Maḡpiʽash מַגְפִּיעָשׁ Strong’s H4047 – ‘moth killer’; Meshullamמְשֻׁלָּם Strong’s H4918 – ‘friend’;

Ḥĕzirחֵזִיר Strong’s H2387 – ‘swine’; Meshĕyzaḇ’ĕl מְשֵׁיזַבְאֵל Strong’s H4898 – ‘El delivers’;

Tsaḏoq צָדוֹק Strong’s H6659 – ‘righteous’; Yadduaיַדּוּעַ Strong’s H3037 – ‘knowing’;

Pelatyah פְּלַטְיָה Strong’s H6410 – ‘יהוה delivers’; Ḥananחָנָן Strong’s H2605 – ‘he is merciful’;

Anayahעֲנָיָה Strong’s H6043 – ‘יהוה has answered’; Hoshěaהוֹשֵׁע Strong’s H1954 – ‘salvation’;

Ḥananyahחֲנַנְיָה Strong’s H2608 - ‘יהוה has favoured’; Ḥashshuḇ - חַשּׁוּב Strong’s H2815 – ‘considerate’;

Halloḥĕshלוֹחֵשׁ Strong’s H3873 – ‘whisperer’; Pilḥaפִּלְחָא Strong’s H6401 – ‘slicing’;

Shoḇĕq שׁוֹבֵק Strong’s H7733 – ‘free’; Reḥumרְחוּם Strong’s H7348 – ‘compassion’;

Ḥashaḇnah חֲשַׁבְנָה Strong’s H2812 - ‘יהוה has considered’; Maʽasĕyah מַעֲשֵׂיָה Strong’s H4641 – ‘work of  יהוה’;

Aḥiyahאֲחִיָּה Strong’s H281 – ‘brother of  יהוה’; Ḥananחָנָן Strong’s H2605 – ‘he is merciful’;

Ananעָנָן Strong’s H6052 – ‘cloud’; Malluḵ - מַלּוּךְ Strong’s H4409 – ‘counsellor’;

Ḥarimחָרִם Strong’s H2766 – ‘dedicated’; Baʽanahבַּעֲנָה Strong’s H1196 – ‘in affliction’.

A long list indeed yet the rest of the people were as committed as their leaders.

What is commitment?

A dictionary definition describes commitment as: ‘an act of committing to a charge or trust;  or  an agreement or pledge to do something,  and is  the state of being obligated or emotionally impelled. True ‘commitment’ is about staying true to one’s pledge or agreement and recognising the obligation to do what you have committed yourself to in its fullest form without neglect or compromise.

As we accept to walk in Messiah, we also commit our ways to Him and commit to walk according to the instructions that יהוה has given us by the hand of Mosheh.

Tehillim/Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to יהוה, And trust in Him, and He does it.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your works to יהוה, And your plans shall be established.

Commit your way and your works to יהוה:

The word used here for commit is גָּלַל  galal – Strong’s H1556 and means, roll, roll away, commit, trust. ‘Galal’ is essence means to roll some object on, upon, away, in, against, from, together, unto, or down. This figure is used for rolling oneself on יהוה and so therefore means to completely trust יהוה, or to commit one’s behavior or life to יהוה, or remove such non-material things as reproach and contempt. To commit to יהוה takes a ‘rolling away’ of those things that have held us back from walking fully and confidently committed in Him. A derivative of this word is Gilgal, which is the place where Yehoshua circumcised Yisra’ĕl after entering the Promised Land as יהוהrolled away the reproach of Mitsrayim’  from Yisra’ĕl and they were separated unto יהוה. By the Blood of Messiah we too have had the reproach of Mitsrayim ‘rolled away’ in order that we may be separated unto יהוה as a set-apart people walking in the Light of His Torah!

Now that He has rolled away the reproach, we can commit our behaviour to יהוה; that is to commit our way and works. The word for ‘way’ in Tehillim 37:5 is דֶּרֶךְ  Derek – Strong’s H1870 which means, way, road, distance, journey and is from the word דָּרַךְ  darak – Strong’s H1869  which means, to tread or march and so speaks of our walk, our every step that we take – this we are to commit to יהוה. This word is used 13 times in Tehillim 119, which we know speaks primarily about the love for His Torah and 13 being the numerical value for the Hebrew word אֶחָד eḥad – Strong’s H259 meaning ‘one’, we recognise that committing our every step to Him causes us to become as one in Him!

The Hebrew word for works in Mishlĕ 16:3 is מַעֲשֶׂה  ma’aseh – Strong’s H4639 and means, a deed, a work, act, good work, labour, activity, accomplishment’. We are to commit all we do to יהוה, having nothing hinder us.

Therefore our walk and work is unto Him and all that stands in the way of confident commitment to obedience must be rolled away!

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 4:19 “So then, those who suffer according to the desire of Elohim should commit their lives to a trustworthy Creator, in doing good.

Today we find so many people that are afraid to confidently commit, as they do not want to feel obligated to do that which is required of them, but would rather keep their options open in order to decide whatever suites them at any given moment, and so committing their way and works completely to יהוה becomes hindered, simply because ‘self’ has not been rolled away. How about you, are you confidently committed to יהוה? Or are there some of your ways and works that are slightly off track? Confident commitment carries the obligation of doing what has been committed to and not backing out in any way; and so we are to be fully confident in our commitment to walking in and staying in Messiah, The Living Torah.

In Neḥemyah 10 we see a people who were confidently committed to יהוה. Let us look at what they committed to:

1 – They were committed to total submission to the Torah and all the commands of יהוה.

I love how verse 28 puts it: in telling us that all who had knowledge and understanding were committed. Hoshěa tells us that people are perishing for lack of knowledge and so without true knowledge and understanding, one cannot confidently commit to being obedient. After all how can you commit to something you have no knowledge or understanding of? As I mentioned earlier that in chapter 8 we see how the people responded to the Torah and made themselves available to listen, in order to hear, guard and do what they heard, and after keeping The Feasts and doing what they heard their understanding grew, as understanding comes in the doing of the knowledge we hear, that we make ourselves available for! If anyone is not earnestly seeking His Kingdom and His Righteousness then how will they find knowledge and if no knowledge, how will they get understanding. These committed people made a clear choice to follow His Torah and observe to do all His commands. Wise and understanding people will confidently commit! We get knowledge and understanding from His Word:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 2:6 “For יהוה gives wisdom; Out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 18:15 “The heart of the understanding one gets knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of Elohim, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it shall be given to him.

There is no excuse for us to not be a wise and understanding people who can confidently commit to being separated from the nations and life obediently unto our King!

What we recognise here is that true commitment takes the Word very serious. Sometimes I think that many claiming to live according to the Way (torah observant living in Messiah) are not as serious about the obligation that true commitment demands from us and therefore there expression of faithfully loving יהוה with all their heart, soul and strength is hindered through a lack of discipline in seeking out knowledge and applying that knowledge through diligent obedience to enhance their understanding of ‘how’ we are to love our Maker and one another. Here these people entered into a curse and an oath. Today so many neglect to understand or take note of the curses contained within the Torah, and simply love to lay claim to all the blessings that are in the Word while they live lawless lives and neglect to walk in the Truth through lack of knowledge. A major part of the prayers of repentance we see in Neḥemyah contains the acknowledgement of the faults and crookedness of the fathers who had gone before, and the same is required today as we seek to confidently commit to a life of total obedience in loving Elohim with all our heart, soul and strength.

These people were serious about their commitment and so should we be too:

Bemidbar/Numbers 30:1 “When a man vows a vow to יהוה, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he does not break his word, he does according to all that comes out of his mouth.

2 – They were committed to being separated! In verse 28 we see the phrase, ‘ and all those who separated themselves…’. This word ‘separated’ in the Hebrew is בָּדַל  badal – Strong’s H914 and means, to be divided, sever, separate, came over, make a distinction’. When we are separated from the world, we are to make a clear distinction between that which is of the world and that which is of Elohim and our lives should clearly shine that distinction. Although we are in the world we are not of the world and so we are to sever those things of darkness from our lives that have no place in the light of His Truth. The first time this word is used in Scripture is right back in:

Berěshith/Genesis 1:4 “And Elohim saw the light, that it was good. And Elohim separated the light from the darkness.

Elohim separated the light from the darkness!!!

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.

יהוה declared the end from the beginning – He has separated light from darkness and we have been called out of darkness and so we should live as such as we walk as children of light:

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light

In learning to walk as children of light we see that this word בָּדַל  badal is also used in:

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 10:10 “so as to make a distinction between the set-apart and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 11:47 “to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the living creature that is eaten and the living creature that is not eaten.

Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you.

These guys were serious and had separated themselves and were committed to not touch what is unclean, and recognised that even their marriages were not to be mixed with the nations:

Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness?

When we are confidently committed to walking in obedience then we will ensure that we are ‘separated’ from darkness, even while we sojourn here amidst a dark world, that our path of walking in righteousness is like the light of dawn, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

The committed to not being mixed in marriage and committed to setting the Sabbath and the Sabbath years apart.

Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 20:12 “And I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, to know that I am יהוה who sets them apart.

They also committed to supporting the House of Elohim. From verse 32-39 we see the phrase, “House of Elohim” being used 8 times, and we know that 8 speaks of eternal and everlasting and this was just another key aspect as to their confident commitment they were making in ensuring that the House of Elohim was supported and the work and upkeep of the service was maintained. Verse 39 sums it up by saying:

…we should not neglect the House of our Elohim.

They imposed upon themselves to take up 1/3rd of a sheqel of silver every year for the service of the House – this was during very tough economic times and we know that by the time of messiah this was back to being ½ a sheqel. They also made lots for the wood offering, and I love the picture that we see in this as we each must take up our stake daily and serve one another. They committed to giving of the first fruits – that is a giving of your best and putting יהוה first in all, as the first fruit offering was measured according to the blessing of יהוה on the individual and revealed true devotion and trust. They also committed to paying their tithes. Although all of these commands that they imposed upon themselves we find as requirements in the torah, what we see here by their commitment to imposing them upon themselves is that their hearts were in it and it was not a matter of ‘doing the letter of the law’ but rather they confidently committed to walking in Spirit and in Truth as they clearly understood the heart of Torah!

This is a wonderful book of encouragement, especially for us today who are, through knowledge and understanding, separating ourselves from darkness and turning to the Torah and confidently committing to walk in true loving obedience. Neḥemyah means “יהוה comforts” and he was the son of Ḥaḵalyah which means “whom יהוה enlightens or wait for יהוה”, and by this we can see that as we wait on Him, through diligently seeking Him, He comforts those He enlightens.

May we be a people who are confidently committed to the obedient love that The Living Torah, our Master and Saviour, יהושע Messiah calls for, and be separated from all darkness that we may truly proclaim His praises in every step we take and in every move we make, walking in Him and working unto Him with our all!

Are you confidently committed to obedience or has there been some hesitation to total commitment on the way? Learn from the pledge these people took and commit your ways and your walk to Him, and let us take the lead of confident commitment, in order that those who will still return to the Torah, we will be able serve with complete joy as they see the Light of His Torah shining ever brighter in us as a growing and glowing family in Messiah, as he sets his seal upon us, aměn!

Timotiyos Bet/ 2 Timothy 2:19 “However, the solid foundation of Elohim stands firm, having this seal, “יהוה knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the Name of Messiah turn away from unrighteous-ness.

Obedience to the Torah calls for a confident commitment – hear the call!!!

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