It's amazing how reading the Word of God opens our eyes to see how God would have us live. The people conformed to His will (Neh. 13:1-3). Nehemiah brought about reform when even the priests allowed 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.
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 (Neh. 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 (Deut. 23:3-4), but Tobiah formerly had opposed Nehemiah's work in rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem (Neh. 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 nobles 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 (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).
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 International Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon • Staff: Beth Carlton • Government Officials: Rep. Michael Arcuri (NY), Rep. Mike Conoway (TX), and Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) • Country: Monaco (32,000) in southeastern France • Major languages: French and English • No open evangelism permitted • 90% Roman Catholic; 7% Protestant; 1% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Pray each day for the Lord to protect you from evil (I Pet. 5:8).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 13
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 1:7