Making Commitments

KEY VERSE: “Because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.” —Nehemiah 9:38

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Nehemiah 10:28-31, 35-37

WHILE THE ISRAELITES were sincere at the time they renewed their commitment to God’s Law, history reveals that it was short-lived. Less than forty years later, the Prophet Malachi described the religious conditions in Israel. He wrote that the people made an outward show of righteousness, but at heart they seemed little different from what they were before their captivity in Babylon.

Not only were they lax in their worship of Jehovah, manifested, for example, in their offering sick and blemished sacrifices on his altars, but they also lacked proper consideration for one another. “Have we not all one father?” Malachi asks. (Mal. 2:10) They were all the children of Abraham, to whom belonged the promises of God, yet they dealt “treacherously” against their brethren. They were all God’s creation, and as a nation had made a covenant with him, yet by their desecration of his altars, and their betrayal of one another, they profaned, or broke, that covenant.

The people complained that they were not being blessed by God, yet they seemed not to realize that their poverty was due to their unfaithfulness to the Lord and to the covenant which their fathers had made with him. “Ye are cursed with a curse,” the Lord said to f them, “for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” Then the Lord added, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”—Mal. 3:8-10

Like the other prophets, in addition to reprimanding Israel for her sins, Malachi forecast coming events in the plan of God. He spoke of another covenant in the future which would be effective in purifying the people. The Messenger of this covenant, the Messiah, the prophecy said, would purify the sons of Levi—the priestly class, “that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”—Mal. 3:1-3

Under the Old Law Covenant arrangement the tribe of Levi were the religious servants of the people, the priests being of this tribe. Beginning at the First Advent, at which time Israel under the Old Covenant was rejected, there began the work of preparing the priestly class to administer the affairs of the New Covenant. The calling of these from both Jews and Gentiles, and their refining and purifying and offering of sacrifice, has been the work of the Gospel Age.—Heb. 3:1; I Pet. 2:5,9

These will be associate ‘messengers’ of the New Covenant. This covenant will become operative first with Judah, at Jerusalem. Then, as the prophet declares, “The offering of Judah and Jerusalem” will “be pleasant unto the Lord.” Many throughout the ages have thought that it was “vain to serve the Lord.” (Mal. 3:14) It is also frequently true that “now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea they that tempt God are even delivered.” (vs. 15) But this will continue to be true only while the Devil remains the ‘prince of this world’. When the New Covenant is inaugurated, with Jesus and his joint-heirs as its ‘messengers’, evil will be cut off, and righteousness rewarded.

Only under the environment of Christ’s kingdom will people be able to keep their commitments to God and his law of righteousness, thus making their covenant ‘sure’!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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