The Art of Perseverance: Nehemiah 10 (Do You Swear?)

Lots of people swear. But I’m not talking about those 4-letter words thrown out when we miss our exit. (Not that I do that! :))

No. I’m talking about a promise. An oath.

I realize there are areas in my life that need transforming. Lots. And some of them, I confess, I haven’t taken too seriously.

Until I read this. (You’re supposed to click on the highlighted word.)

Do You So Solemnly Swear?

Yeah. I’m convicted. We toss around the word “promise” quite a lot.

“I promise I’ll feed him–just let me keep the lost puppy (or lizard, or caterpillar, or cockroach)!”

“I promise I’ll do the dishes more, honey. Just one more day of golf this week.”

“I promise I’ll witness more, God. Just get me out of this mess!”

I guess the difference between those “commitments” and the Jews’ commitment was that these examples above were made out of a heightened emotion (brought on by selfishness or fear).

But the Jews’ promise to God to obey His commands weren’t made flippantly. Much thought, strong intention, and lots of time were spent in God’s Word before they made the promise.

They were serious and level-headed with their oath to obey God. And they were specific in their commitments to Him.

Reminds me of Job 31:1 — I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.


In my book, Journey to Freedom: The Pursuit of Authentic Fellowship among Men, I wrote about the 70-12-3-1 idea of biblical fellowship. Without going into too much detail here, the main idea was to find a handful of trusted, godly men/women (same sex as you) with whom you can be open and honest.

James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another. It’s a way to make an oath to God–a commitment to following Him–with your brothers/sisters, and allow them to hold you accountable with love and grace.

So this passage has convicted me to be serious with my following Him–even in the areas that may seem less important. It’s either obedience, or it’s not. Making a promise to God to obey Him doesn’t help me get to heaven. Faith alone does that. But, as a Christian, it’s a commitment to glorify Him and experience the abundant life He wants me to have.

I encourage you to find a handful of trusted, godly friends with whom you all can commit areas of your lives to God.

It’s worth it! He’s worth it!


Journey to Freedom makes a great men’s group study with questions in the back for each chapter. Check it out!


1 Comment

  • TC Avey
    05 Sep 2012

    This post reminds me of one I am working on for my Monday series on the book “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
    I am going through the Sermon on the Mount and am humbled as I read theses passages with Bonhoeffer’s insight.
    We are either obedient or we aren’t. There’s no middle ground. And God took oaths seriously. We are to let our yes be yes and our no be no.

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