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Bible Pathways - June 11, 2006

  • 2006 Jun 11

Nehemiah 13

In Today's 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 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).

Christ Portrayed:

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).

Word Studies:

13:17 contended with =/i> confronted, rebuked; 13:26 outlandish =/i> foreign; 13:30 strangers =/i> foreigners; wards of =/i> duties for.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Charleen Cook · Government Officials: Rep. Mike Conoway (TX), Rep. Charles Rangel (NY), and Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ) · Country: Algeria (31 million) in North Africa · Major languages: Arabic and French · Authorities have virtually ended all open mission work · 99% Muslim; .5% Roman Catholic/Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Realize that the will of God is often different from our own desires (II Corinthians 12:8-9).

Optional Reading: II Corinthians 13

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 1:1




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