Read Nehemiah 13
In Today's Reading:
Reading of the Law; separation from the heathen; tithes given; Sabbath-breaking forbidden; mixed marriages condemned
Twelve years after the glorious dedication of the completed walls around Jerusalem, Nehemiah returned to his high official position with the Persian king just as he had promised to do. He remained there for an unspecified period of time. Without Nehemiah's godly influence, the Israelites' worship of God and their observance of the Sabbath were neglected, resulting in numerous intermarriages with Canaanite idol worshipers. Nehemiah was grieved over the people's disregard of the Law and once again asked the king for permission to return to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 13:6-7).
Upon his return Nehemiah discovered that the greatest disregard for the Law, as recorded in Deuteronomy 23:3, was committed by those who held the highest positions of spiritual leadership. Eliashib, the priest in charge of the storerooms of the Temple, had allowed Tobiah, an Ammonite enemy of Nehemiah, to use one of these official rooms to extend his business in Jerusalem. It seems that Eliashib was probably even a business partner. Other priests had also married Canaanite women (Nehemiah 13:29). Such marriages were forbidden by God (Deuteronomy 23:3-4). Not only was Tobiah an Ammonite, but he formerly had opposed Nehemiah's work for the Lord (Nehemiah 2:10,19; 4:3-8; 6:17-19). In righteous indignation, Nehemiah threw all of Tobiah's things out of the room and commanded that it be cleansed according to the Law (13:8-9,11).
While facing much opposition, Nehemiah continued his restoration of the worship of God according to the Law. He also warned the people that they had violated the Word of God by their marriages with the idol-worshiping Canaanites (13:25-26).
Like Nehemiah, we too can make a difference in our world. He was mightily used of God because he knew the Scriptures and refused to compromise it. We should follow his example. We need not feel inadequate for the task, for we are promised that, if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).
By Nehemiah who cleansed the priests and Levites and defined their duties (Nehemiah 13:30). Christ cleanses us from all our sins when we confess them (I John 1:9). Through Him we have been made a royal priesthood to serve the Lord (I Peter 2:9).
13:17 contended with = confronted, rebuked; 13:26 outlandish = foreign; 13:30 strangers = foreigners; wards of = duties for.
Pray for Richard Finke and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WLRY-FM, Rushville, OH · BPM Staff: Wanda Baker · Government Officials: Gov. Parris Glendening (MD), Rep. Charles Rangel (NY), and Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ) · Country: Ethiopia (60 million) in eastern Africa · Major languages: Amharic and Tigrinya · Unsettled after overthrow of communist regime · 41% Eastern Orthodox; 35% Muslim; 10% Protestant; 10% animist; .7% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send workers to harvest for Him (Matthew 9:38).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 13
Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 3:16