Worship and giving go together. In Nehemiah chapter 11, starting in verse 27 through the end of the chapter, we see the people preparing for the worship service to dedicate the work that they had done to restore the walls of Jerusalem. We see all the people that are involved and the big steps and production that they went to to be able to proclaim their worship of God and thanks for all he allowed them to accomplish. What’s so interesting to me, is that immediately after the worship, it talks about giving. It explains what the people were giving back to God as a response to the worship.

Time and time again throughout scripture, we see worship and giving going together. How can we truly understand and praise God for who he is, if it does not lead us to the place where we recognize he owns it all and out of love for him we can give all to him? If we are truly worshiping God, it will lead us to a deep desire to give back to him. What are we giving back to the Lord today?

Another list of names. In Nehemiah 12:1-26 we see a listing of all the priests and those who were serving the Lord. Interestingly, there is specification that they were in charge of thanks and praise to God. If we were in charge of thanks and praise, what would we say? Would we see all the things around us that are worthy of praise?

God has commanded us to praise Him. We can consider ourselves in charge of praise for our own lives. Are we fulfilling that command?

Outside Jerusalem. Yesterday, we saw how important it was to get people to live inside Jerusalem. Today, in Nehemiah 11:20-36, we see that God is also concerned where everyone else lives. God does not just concern Himself with the tithe, like we learned yesterday, God is concerned with all. We cannot just tell God, “Ok, I gave You Your tithe, now I’m going to do whatever I want with the rest.” God desires to see us be obedient to Him with all that we have. Will we trust Him today with everything?

Where are the people? In Nehemiah 11:1-19, now that Nehemiah has rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem, the question becomes who is going to live there? You see nobody wants to live in an unprotected and undefended city, so nobody was living there. But now, this city has a wall. The city is defended. The city is the capital city and the holy city of God, and it needs people living in it. So how did they find the people to live there? Essentially, they took a tithe of people.

A lot of times when we hear the word tithe we automatically think money. 10% of our money should go to God. That’s true, but a tithe does not necessarily have to mean just money. In this case they tithed people. They took 10% of their people and moved them to Jerusalem. When we look at our life, yes, giving God from our money is important as it shows trust and dependence and obedience to God. However, it’s not just money that we need to tithe to God. Are we tithing our time? Are we tithing our resources? Everything we have, we have because God allowed us to have it. He owns it all and he is deserving of our obedience in tithing in all areas.

Where’s your accountability? Looking at Nehemiah chapter 10, we see through the entire chapter today a long list of names of individuals and then a list of expectations for those individuals. A lot of times we wonder why are names listed in the Bible, especially those really long lists of names. Here I see those names as an opportunity for accountability. Nehemiah knew that these people would have expectations put upon them. If they were truly going to lead the people of Israel, they needed to be the very best at what they did and be obedient to God. One of the easiest ways to ensure that is by listing their names along with the list of actions and duties they are responsible for do others could read and know.

How do we hold ourselves accountable? God desires our obedience, in fact, he demands it. Yet we can say that we will be obedient and then we may or may not follow through with that. Which brings us back to the question, how do we hold ourselves accoutable? Do we list our names in front of other people who know what the expectations should be and then question us as to whether we are meeting those? Today, how are we going to ensure that we are being held accountable to being obedient to the commands of God?

Sometimes we get what we deserve. As we read Nehemiah chapter 9, we finish up this chapter starting in verse 27 through the end. We see that the people of God had continued to be disobedient him. As a result, God allowed them to experience the results of their sin. He allowed them to be captured and He allowed them to go through all the difficulties that arose as a result of that. When we make a choice to disobey God, God wants to get our attention so that He can bring us back to the place where we should be. But, occasionally we are stubborn and don’t listen. So God has to get our attention and help us understand that the path we have chosen is not according to His will for us. That’s exactly what God allowed to happen with the children of Israel. Are we being obedient? Are we following God? If the answer is no, God may allow us to go through an experience the results of our sin and disobedience so that we will better understand the reasons why he calls us to obedience in him. Are we being obedient to him today?

Yesterday, we saw the people praising God. Today, in Nehemiah 9:16-26, we see that as we see God for who he is, we end up seeing ourselves for who we are. We are sinful. We are disobedient. We fall short of the perfect God every single day. As Nehemiah retells the history of the people of Israel, it stands in sharp contrast to the faithfulness of God.

The same is true for us. When we truly see who God is and what He wants to do in our life, we must admit we fall drastically short of His expectations for us. Are we willing to admit our shortcomings? Do we see our failures and fall on our knees, begging the Forgiveness of a holy God? He has done so much for us, will we see ourselves as we are and repent to him?

Nehemiah 9:1-15 starts out a chapter of the worship service of the people. They have all gathered together and they begin these first versus with a recounting of all the great and marvelous things that God has done for them through their history. They recognize and praise God for all that he has done.

Are there points in our lives where we go through and think about all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us? Do we praise him and thank him for everything he has done in our lives? The people knew their history because they spoke about it so often and they knew how God’s hand had carried them through that history. When we consider our own individual history, do we recognize and praise how God’s hand has led us through all the things that we have encountered and experienced in our life? God has been there every step of the way, and he deserves praise and glory for the way he has orchestrated our lives. Do we give him that praise?

As long as we still have breath, it’s never too late to be obedient. As we see in Nehemiah 8:13-18, the people have not been obedient to celebrate the festival of booths for many, many generations. Yet, they make the decision, while reading through the Law that they need to do this.

God will direct us to do things, but occasionally we get distracted by other things and we fail to follow through on obedience. God is still there and waiting for us to repent and be obedient to Him. He knows that through our obedience we get to experience God. Are we willing to go back to that thing that God has directed us to do and obey Him?

How do we respond to hearing the Word of God? The people that Nehemiah and Ezra were speaking to had a response we don’t see a lot. Looking in Nehemiah 8:9-12, they had just had a great worship service and the people were so moved by the reading of God’s Word that they were in tears weeping. Nehemiah and Ezra had to remind them that this was supposed to be a happy celebration time. They then gave them practical steps to take for them to act upon their feelings. They were able to put into action all the concerns that they felt so that gave them an outlet for all that they were feelig.

Do we get overwhelmed by all that God has for us? Are we looking for ways to demonstrate our devotion to God once we’ve studied God’s Word? Hearing God’s truth should spur us to act upon it. What will we do today?