Nehemiah 13 – February 27
Welcome to our studies in Ezra and Nehemiah! These books will shine the light on God being in control of our world, moving us to do His work. Join our study by following along with the reading plan then reflecting and journaling on each day’s reading to humble yourself before Him and listen. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. If you’re wondering what SOAP is…it’s a method of Bible study that focuses on applying scripture to our every days. Read more about it on our website.
Nehemiah 13 – Nehemiah’s Final Reforms
On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God, 2 because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.) 3 When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent.
4 Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah, 5 and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil prescribed for the Levites, musicians and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.
6 But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission 7 and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God. 8 I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. 9 I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.
10 I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. 11 So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?” Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.
12 All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms. 13 I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites.
14 Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.
15 In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day. 16 People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah. 17 I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”
19 When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem. 21 But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Remember me for this also, my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.
23 Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. 25 I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. 27 Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”
28 One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite. And I drove him away from me.
29 Remember them, my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.
30 So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. 31 I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the firstfruits.
Remember me with favor, my God.
Remember the Good and Have Mercy on the Bad | Becky Newman
Nehemiah had gone back to Babylon for awhile to handle things politically, probably to show he was still loyal to the king of Babylon and prove to him in person that rebuilding Jerusalem was not an act of aggression. After receiving permission to return to Jerusalem, he found all kinds of back-sliding — improper temple service, lack of tithing, neglect of duties, not honoring the Sabbath, and intermarriage. The Israelites were on fire for God when they first heard God’s Word, but many had let it go and weren’t staying in His Word. This act was drawing them away from God — away from pleasing Him and following His commands. When Nehemiah left, things were so good, hearts were returning, but I can feel his disappointment and sadness in his brothers and sisters. I’m sure he blames himself for going away and that may be why he cries out to God three times in today’s reading to remember the good and have mercy on the bad.
Staying in Your Word, abiding is so important in pleasing You and obeying You. It keeps my mind and heart in right focus if I’ve spent time in Your Word. And as a leader and mentor, it’s even more important for me to make sure my relationship with You is good before I pour into others. I want what comes out of my mouth and my actions to be straight of You, no sin sneaking in, or discouragement. And I need mercy for all the times that my words and actions have not been pleasing to You.
Lord, thank You for this time in Ezra and Nehemiah and new discoveries in the Old Testament. Your Word is the key in these books, and Your Word should be key in my life to draw closer to You. Help me, Lord, that my words and actions would be pleasing to You. Have mercy on me all the times they have not, You know like today when I let my temper take over my words and actions when some kids were misbehaving at church then taught them about becoming disciples of Jesus like 15 minutes later with the same tongue — my Nehemiah moment of the day. Continue to help me abide in You.
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Posted on February 27, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged abide, actions, Bible, Bible Study, God's Word, mercy, nehemiah, pleasing, prayer, relationship, SOAP, words. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.