The people of Judah decided as part of their covenant commitment to serve God in the traditions and Laws of Israel again. They sealed the covenant, as we noted in our last blog, and then the rest of the people committed to the following actions: Not to intermarry with pagan nations, to obey the commandments of God’s Law, not to trade or work on the Sabbath, to observe the seventh year Sabbath for the land, to give offerings for the temple, and to bring the firstfruits of the land to the Lord.
While this list does not recount all the laws and commandments of God, it is very apparent that they committed themselves to a public observation of the laws of God. They committed to the temple, the Sabbath, and the support of the priests and Levites. This re-established the house of God as the center of the society. In the United States today, we have largely treated the house of God as unimportant. The priesthood is not respected or revered. Many churches are cutting staff and trimming the budget due to decreased giving and attendance. If the American church would once again reverence the house of God and its ministers, it would parallel the restoration of Jerusalem discussed here in the book of Nehemiah.