Day 311 November 7
Nehemiah 10:28- 33 (following a long list of rulers)
28 The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the neighboring peoples to follow the Instruction from God, together with their wives, their sons, their daughters, and all who have knowledge and understanding. 29 They join with their officials and relatives, and make a solemn pledge to live by God’s Instruction, which was given by Moses, God’s servant, and to observe faithfully all the commandments, judgments, and statutes of our Lord God.
30 We won’t give our daughters in marriage to the neighboring peoples, nor take their daughters in marriage for our sons.
31 If the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or any grain to sell on the Sabbath, we won’t buy it from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day.
Every seventh year we won’t plant crops, and we will return anything held in debt.
32 We pledge ourselves to keep the commandment and pay one-third of a shekel each year for the service of our God’s house, 33 for the stacks of bread and the regular grain offering and the regular entirely burned offering, for the sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed festivals, for the holy offerings and the purification offerings to make reconcilation for Israel, and for all the work of our God’s house.
Comment: returning anything held in debt was the every 50 year of jubilee Israel was meant to practice as a just way to live together and as a reminder that the land belonged to the Lord, not to any one or two families.
13-16 That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.
17-18 He asked, “What’s this you’re discussing so intently as you walk along?” They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened during the last few days?”
19-24 He said, “What has happened?” They said, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”
Comment: Jesus alive, really? Why? What a wonderful ending to Pilate’s question to the crowd, why this man? God’s answer to all “Why Jesus?” questions: “because He is the Son of God whom death cannot hold. Watch Him destroy death and bring resurrection life!”
22 But you have drawn near to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, to countless angels in a festival gathering, 23 to the assembly of God’s firstborn children who are registered in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than Abel’s blood.
25 See to it that you don’t resist the one who is speaking. If the people didn’t escape when they refused to listen to the one who warned them on earth, how will we escape if we reject the one who is warning from heaven? 26 His voice shook the earth then, but now he has made a promise: Still once more I will shake not only the earth but heaven also. 27 The words “still once more” reveal the removal of what is shaken—the things that are part of this creation—so that what isn’t shaken will remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe, 29 because our God really is a consuming fire.
Prayer: may your presence go with us into ministry this day, dear Lord, for without you how could we exist? Amen.