Highlights In Today's Reading:
It's amazing how reading the Word of God opens our eyes to see how God would have us live. The people conform to His will (13:1-3). Nehemiah brings about reform when even the priests allow sin (13:4-7,10-13,15-28,30-31). As the Temple of the Lord, we must take spiritual inventory to be sure there is no hidden sin in our hearts.
After being in Jerusalem about 12 years (5:14), Nehemiah returned to his duties in Babylon. During his absence, the Israelites neglected reading the Scriptures and, within a brief time, intermarriage with heathen idol worshipers had taken place. Work was also being done on the Sabbath and tithing was ignored. The people had lost interest in pleasing the Lord.
Even Eliashib the (high) priest . . . was allied unto Tobiah (the Ammonite) (Neh. 13:4). Eliashib provided special living quarters in the Temple compound for this enemy of God, in the rooms that were reserved for the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites (13:5). Tobiah was the very man who had persistently opposed the work of Nehemiah many years earlier (2:10,19; 4:3-8; 6:17-19; 13:4,8). Yet Eliashib had provided Tobiah a chamber (living quarters) in the courts of the House of God (13:7).
Nehemiah obtained . . . leave of the king: And (again) . . . came to Jerusalem (13:6-7). Upon arriving in Jerusalem, this dedicated servant of God was deeply grieved on discovering that the greatest evils were being committed by those who were in the position of "spiritual" leadership. Even some of the priests had married heathen women (Ezra 10:18). Tobiah the Ammonite and his son Johanan had also married Jewish women (Neh. 6:17-19). Even one of Eliashib's grandsons was son in law to Sanballat (13:28).
Angry at the insult to God, Nehemiah cast forth (threw out) all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber (13:8-9). Then Nehemiah contended . . . with the rulers (who opposed his reformation), and said, Why is the House of God forsaken? (13:11).
It is written, My House shall be called the House of Prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves (Matt. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17).
Whether we are loyal or disloyal to the True King determines our eternal destiny. Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure (I John 3:3).
Thought for Today:
If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's Commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:10-11).
By Nehemiah who cleansed the priests and Levites and defined their duties (Neh. 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 Pet. 2:9).
13:17 contended with = confronted, rebuked; 13:26 outlandish = foreign idol worshiper; 13:30 strangers = idol-worshiping foreigners; wards of = duties for.
Pray for English International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Cindy Bertola • Radio Sri Lanka Broadcasts sponsored by Mrs. Marilyn E. Stump • Staff: Benjamin Wallace • Government Officials: Rep. Michael Arcuri (NY), Rep. Mike Conoway (TX), and Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) • Country: Peru (26 million) on the western coast of South America • Major languages: Spanish and Quechua • Open to evangelism and Bible distribution • 90% Christian; 8% non-Religious/Other; 1.2% Traditional ethnic; .3% Buddhist; .09% Baha'i; .02% Jewish • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for grace to overcome temptation, and God will reward you (James 1:12).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 13
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:33