God's Covenant with the Returned Exiles

Lesson 9

Lesson: Nehemiah 9:32-38; 10:28-29
Devotional Reading: Nehemiah 9: 1-10:39

TIME: 445 B.C.
PLACE: Jerusalem

MEMORY VERSE: "Thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly" (Nehemiah 9:33).

After centuries of backsliding, God chastened the Israelites by allowing them to be carried away to Babylon as captives for seventy years (Jer. 25:11-14). When Persia defeated Babylon, the Jewish captives were permitted to return to their homeland.
As the book of Nehemiah opens, we learn that Nehemiah was the cupbearer to Persian king Artaxerxes. Although the Jews had been back in Judah for many years, Nehemiah learned that the walls of Jerusalem were still in ruins. Greatly distressed by this news, Nehemiah "sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed" (1:4).

Given permission to return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah spearheaded efforts to rebuild the walls of the city. With both human determination and divine help, the project was finished in less than two months (Neh. 6:15).

Nehemiah 9:32-38; 10:28-29

NEH. 9:32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of As-syr'i-a unto this day.

33 Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:
34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them.
35 For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.
36 Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it:
37 And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.
38 And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.
NEH. 10:28 And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;
29 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;