Jul 25, 2021 |Nehemiah

Looking Different

07.25.21 | Nehemiah

Looking Different

Noel Heikkinen

Nehemiah 10

As followers of Jesus, we must necessarily look different from the rest of the world. Does your spending, schedule, and family stand out as different from those around you? Pastor Noel Jesse Heikkinen challenges us as followers of Jesus to focus our lives first on Jesus and let our hope in Him influence everything else.

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In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement in writing on a sealed document containing the names of our leaders, Levites, and priests.

Nehemiah 9:38
The rest of the people — the priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, and temple servants, along with their wives, sons, and daughters, everyone who is able to understand and who has separated themselves from the surrounding peoples to obey the law of God —  join with their noble brothers and commit themselves with a sworn oath to follow the law of God given through God’s servant Moses and to obey carefully all the commands, ordinances, and statutes of the LORD our Lord.

Nehemiah 10:28-29
We will not give our daughters in marriage to the surrounding peoples and will not take their daughters as wives for our sons.

Nehemiah 10:30
[quote]Our families will look different[/quote]
When the surrounding peoples bring merchandise or any kind of grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or a holy day. We will also leave the land uncultivated in the seventh year and will cancel every debt.

Nehemiah 10:31
[quote]Our schedules will look different[/quote]
We will impose the following commands on ourselves: To give an eighth of an ounce of silver yearly for the service of the house of our God: the bread displayed before the LORD, the daily grain offering, the regular burnt offering, the Sabbath and New Moon offerings, the appointed festivals, the holy things, the sin offerings to atone for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God. We have cast lots among the priests, Levites, and people for the donation of wood by our ancestral families at the appointed times each year. They are to bring the wood to our God’s house to burn on the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law. We will bring the firstfruits of our land and of every fruit tree to the LORD’s house year by year. We will also bring the firstborn of our sons and our livestock, as prescribed by the law, and will bring the firstborn of our herds and flocks to the house of our God, to the priests who serve in our God’s house. We will bring a loaf from our first batch of dough to the priests at the storerooms of the house of our God. We will also bring the firstfruits of our grain offerings, of every fruit tree, and of the new wine and fresh oil. A tenth of our land’s produce belongs to the Levites, for the Levites are to collect the one-tenth offering in all our agricultural towns. A priest from Aaron’s descendants is to accompany the Levites when they collect the tenth, and the Levites are to take a tenth of this offering to the storerooms of the treasury in the house of our God. For the Israelites and the Levites are to bring the contributions of grain, new wine, and fresh oil to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are kept and where the priests who minister are, along with the gatekeepers and singers. We will not neglect the house of our God.

Nehemiah 10:32-39
[quote]Our finances will look different[/quote]
In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the LORD. And Abel also presented an offering — some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but he did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent.

Genesis 4:3-5
After Abram returned from defeating Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the Shaveh Valley (that is, the King’s Valley). Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was a priest to God Most High. He blessed him and said: Abram is blessed by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High who has handed over your enemies to you. And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Genesis 14:17-20
Honor the LORD with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest.

Proverbs 3:9

Read Nehemiah 10:28-29. What are some helpful ways you’ve seen Christians “separate themselves” from the surrounding world? What about some unhelpful ways?

How would you like for your family to look different as a result of your faith in Christ? What are some specific ways you can be intentional about this?

How would you like for your schedule to look different as a result of your faith in Christ? What are some specific ways you can be intentional with your priorities?

How would you like for your finances to look different as a result of your faith in Christ? What are some specific ways you can be intentional about putting God first with your finances?

Who are the people in your life who don’t yet know Jesus for whom you can set an example of Godly living with your family, schedule, and finances? Take a few moments to pray for those folks.