In Today's Scripture Reading:
Reading of the Law; separation from the heathen; tithes given; Sabbath-breaking forbidden; mixed marriages condemned
During Nehemiah's absence, the Israelites' worship of God and the Sabbath observance were neglected. Intermarriage with Canaanite idol worshipers was common. Nehemiah again came . . . unto the king, and after certain days obtained . . . leave (permission) of the king: And . . . came to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 13:6-7). He was grieved over the people's disregard of the Law and took firm action to return the nation to God. On that day they read in the Book of Moses . . . therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever (13:1).
The greatest evils were committed by those who held the highest positions of spiritual leadership. Eliashib the priest . . . was allied unto Tobiah (through marriage). . . . And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite (13:4,28). Other priests had also married Canaanite women.
Added to these sins, Nehemiah understood . . . the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber (room) in the courts of the House (Temple) of God (13:7). This was not only forbidden by God (Deuteronomy 23:3-4), but Tobiah formerly had opposed Nehemiah's work in rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:10,19; 4:3-8; 6:17-19). Nehemiah cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber (room). . . . and. . . . contended . . . with the rulers, and said, Why is the House (Temple) of God forsaken? (13:8-9,11). The reason was obvious. The spiritual leaders of Judah had violated the Law by marrying heathen women and, consequently, defiled the priesthood (13:29).
Nehemiah continued his reformation while facing much opposition. He warned the people concerning marriage with the Canaanites: Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons. . . . Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? . . . him did outlandish (foreign, unbelieving) women cause to sin (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. Draw nigh to God. . . . ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded (doubters) (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 =/i> confronted, rebuked; 13:26 outlandish =/i> foreign; 13:30 strangers =/i> foreigners; wards of =/i> duties for.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Jesus; The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean in memory of Chad Y. Butler Bible Pathway Media Producer: Rick Hash Government Officials: Rep. Michael Arcuri (NY), Rep. Mike Conoway (TX), Rep. Charles Rangel (NY), and Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ) Country: Trinidad and Tobago (1 million) two islands seven miles off the coast of Venezuela Major languages: English and Hindi Religious freedom 34% Protestant; 29% Roman Catholic; 25% Hindu; 7% Muslim Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that the Lord protects you and provides your needs (Philippians 4:4).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 13
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 19:8