t our church, we have what is called our "Church Covenant" which supposedly all our members hold to... or at least aspire to do so. It is a wonderfully written document. But naturally, it is of no value at all if we don't pay attention to what is in it and if we don't strive to live up to it. Now, we don't require new members to sign a document assuring us that they will strive to keep our covenant, however, the people of Ezra and Nehemiah's day did sign on the dotted line. This chapter records for us just how serious these Jews were in their desire to live holily.
There were over 80 men who signed this ancient Declaration of Faith and many more who vocally vowed to attach their loyalty to it as well (Nehemiah 10:28 - 29). They agreed to live by the Law of God and of Moses. Most specifically they covenanted together on a few very particular rules. They were not to give their children to heathen for marriages. They would keep the Sabbath by refraining from business transactions on Saturdays. They promised to forgive debts every seventh year. And, they planned to give tithes and offerings sufficient for the maintenance of temple worship. Perhaps their ability to live up to these commitments would shortly prove lacking, but at least they sincerely intended to do right this time. Their initial devotion was well directed. Such initial nobility is not redemptive; but it is a necessary evidence of true faith (Revelation 22:17).