Read Nehemiah 13
It's amazing how reading the Word of God opens our eyes and hearts to see how God would have us live. The people conform to His will (Neh. 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.
Before Nehemiah left Jerusalem and returned to Persia, he made a commitment to return to his influential position with the king of Persia. By the time Nehemiah left Jerusalem and returned to Persia, he had restored the priests and Levites to their responsible positions of spiritual leadership in Jerusalem.
Eliashib, the high priest, had been a co-worker with Nehemiah in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. As the years passed without the influence of Nehemiah, Eliashib associated with Tobiah, the Ammonite — probably because of a marriage relationship — even though Tobiah had been one of the enemies who tried to stop Nehemiah from completing the walls years earlier.
Eliashib even went so far as to prepare Tobiah a place to live in the courts of the House of God (Neh. 13:7). Eliashib had erred exceedingly in disobeying the Law of God that said: The Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever (13:1; II Kin. 23:3-4).
When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, the Levites were working in the fields instead of serving in the Temple. The tithes that were designated to support the Levites remained in the people's hands, the House of God was forsaken, and the Sabbath day was desecrated by the majority of the people. Nehemiah again took a firm stand for the Word of God and would not consent to their compromising attitude toward sin. He would not tolerate dishonoring the Sabbath day or intermarriage of idol worshipers with Israelites (Neh. 13:15-28). His reforms were resisted by an influential group of Israelites whose children had intermarried with Moabites or Ammonites.
Too often Christians compromise with the world. Because they lack knowledge of the Scriptures, they excuse disloyalty to God by saying they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But where there is obvious opposition to what is clearly stated in the Word of God, we must take a positive stand for Christ. The Apostle Paul was led of God to warn us: The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (II Tim. 4:3-4).
Thought for Today:
Do you help or hinder the ministry of the Word of God by your association with unbelievers?
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 Staff: Barbara Bivens • Government Officials: Rep. Mike Conoway (TX) and Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) • Country: Kyrgyzstan (4.7 million) eastern central Asia • Major languages: Kirghiz and Russian • Religious freedom • 75% Muslim; 20% Russian Orthodox; 5% Other (Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant) • Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to show you His ways (Ex. 33:13).
Memory Verse for the Week: