Bible Pathway - June 11, 2012

Highlights:

Reading of the Law; separation from the heathen; tithes brought in; sabbath-breaking forbidden; mixed marriages condemned.

Now it came to pass, when they had heard the Law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude (Neh. 13:3).

Nehemiah had returned to Persia for a short period of time during which the Israelites had become slack in obeying God's Commandments. But when the Word of God was read, they realized that a lot of changes in their lifestyle had to be made.

When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem (13:6), he was shocked at the low moral and spiritual condition that existed in the nation. They were even allowing Tobiah — the very man who tried to hinder the rebuilding of Jerusalem many years earlier — to live in the House of God! Nehemiah immediately threw Tobiah's things out of the Temple and ordered him to leave.

As God's ordained leader, Nehemiah promptly set about to clean out the House of God and restore the Levites to their priesthood. No one could discourage him from doing what was right, for he knew his standing with God and didn't care what anyone thought. This is such an outstanding example for us today. So, often we worry too much about what the world, our friends, or our families think and not nearly enough about what God is thinking. We must remember that it is not this world we serve. It is not this world's approval that we seek. It is not this world we need to impress. However, it is God we serve. It is God's approval we seek. In the best sense we can say we want to impress God, and we do want Him to be pleased with our actions. When Peter and the other apostles were commanded not to speak in Jesus' Name they replied: We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29; Jer. 42:6). So, follow the example of these great men of faith and be concerned with pleasing God. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10).

Many seem to believe they can live like the world, act like the world, and talk like the world and still be a godly witness for Christ. Jesus clearly taught: No man can serve two masters . . . Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matt. 6:24). He cannot bless us as long as we are mixing worldliness and sins in our lives. If we are to be used as His vessels to dispense His (spiritual) food — His Word — to the world, our lives must be clean, holy, acceptable unto God (Rom. 12:1).

Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure (I John 3:3).

Thought for Today:

Fear of ridicule and loss of popularity keep many people from doing God's will.

Christ Portrayed:

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).

Word Studies:

13:17 contended with, confronted, rebuked; 13:26 outlandish, foreign idol worshiper; 13:30 strangers, idol-worshiping foreigners; wards of, duties for.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts in memory of Iva Ann McElroy • Government Officials: Gov. Dennis M. Daugaard (SD), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (NY), and Rep. Mike Conaway (TX) • Country: Haiti (7 million) in the West Indies • Major languages: French and Creole • Religious freedom • 75% Roman Catholic; 17% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: When you are in desperate circumstances, turn to the Lord with fasting and prayer (II Chr. 20:2-4).

Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 13

Memory Verse for the Week: Ecclesiastes 5:4

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