Faithlife Sermons

(Nehemiah 11-13) Who Is Truly on the Lord's Side?

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INTRODUCTION:
Who is truly on the Lords side?
That phrase is a memorable phrase in our Bibles.
It comes from after Israel worshipped the Golden calf.
It comes from after Israel worshipped the Golden calf.
Exodus 32:26 ESV
26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him.
It may sound familiar to us because it is the title and first line of a song in our hymn books.
#392 Who is on the Lord’s Side.
Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King? Who will be His helpers, other lives to bring? Who will leave the world’s side? Who will face the foe? Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for Him will go? By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine, We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!
In other words - who is God’s faithful servants.
The answer to that question might surprise you!
We might not expect
We might expect the faithful to be oozing with Enthusiasm about God - but enthusiasm doesn’t equal faithfulness.
ILLUSTRATION:
I remember watching a young man come to church.
He was pumped and full of energy about the Gospel.
Excitement oosed from him.
And that is always a joy to watch.
But I also watched that young man, get interested in a girl and walk away from His faith.
Whether he was a believer or not I do not know, But I know his actual faith in God did not match his enthusiasm for the Gospel.
His enthusiasm was not a true sign of his faith in Christ.
Another person,
We might expect to be faithful is someone who is doing great things for God - but again that might not be the case.
I watched a lady who was doing great work in the Children’s ministry,
always witnessing and bringing people to church,
and always there when the doors open.
And that sounds like someone who is commendable.
Except I also watched that lady latter slowly abandon the work she was doing,
- growing more and more apathetic and bitter as the days go by.
- Slowly missing more and more church.
CAVEAT:
Now, if you are a skeptic here, be careful,
because I can also point to you to many Christians who are enthusiastic and servants in the church - and remain so for a lifetime.
So realize using bad examples of supposed Christians does not demonstrate the Gospel is false.
and in fact, It is illogical to say so.
What I am saying -
Is that present enthusiasm and good works does not necessarily mean we will always be faithful.
I can be oozing with Joy about the Gospel,
and I can be doing all kinds of things for Jesus.
But Good works and enthusiasm now; doesn’t necessarily equal a lifetime of faithfulness.
We should be careful if we think we have it all together.
The book of Nehemiah is a great example that Joy and Good works does not mean we are truly on the Lord’s side.
Nehemiah 13 ESV
1 On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, 2 for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them—yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 As soon as the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent. 4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, 5 prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6 While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king 7 and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8 And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. 9 Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. 10 I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. 11 So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. 14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service. 15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. 16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” 19 As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love. 23 In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. 27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?” 28 And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. 30 Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; 31 and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
Nehemiah 13 ESV
1 On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, 2 for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them—yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 As soon as the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent. 4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, 5 prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6 While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king 7 and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8 And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. 9 Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. 10 I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. 11 So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. 14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service. 15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. 16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” 19 As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love. 23 In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. 27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?” 28 And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. 30 Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; 31 and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King? Who will be His helpers, other lives to bring? Who will leave the world’s side? Who will face the foe? Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for Him will go? By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine, We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!
So I warn us,

PROP: We ought to Source our Faithfulness in the Gospel alone.

TRANS: And the book of Nehemiah gives us a great example of false and temporary faithfulness.

*********************Lets PRAY********************
As we begin here, I would like to recount the events in chapters 8-12.
I now we haven’t covered yet, but I will briefly as work through chapters 8-12.
So first, Nehemiah records -
I now we haven’t covered yet, but I will briefly
but
But I hope to only brief discuss them because they concern primarily logistical work and reforms.

1) The Appearance of Faithful Revival. ()

The Appearance of Faithful Revival ()
And the key word is “appearance”.
- It appears like a revival.
- They truly are trying to recommit themselves as a nation to the Covenant.
They have an appearance of faithfulness.
They seem to be on the Lord’s side.
Considered the Good works that preceded Chapter 10.
- Beginning to Regularly Read the Law.
- About the Returning to Practice the Appointed Feasts.
- Extended Public Prayer and Promise to Keep the Law.
If we continue, may I summarize and 12,
as also a diligent keeping of the Law.
I now we haven’t covered yet, but I will briefly as work through chapters 8-12.
CAVEAT:
I now we haven’t covered in depth, but I will only briefly summarize it hear.
All Scripture is worthy of reading, but I think 11-12 is best understood in the broader context of the book.
There are some fascinating history in those chapters, but they all are preparing us for the irony of Chapter 13.
I want you see and understand the drama and climax of Nehemiah.
- The Planned Re-Population of Judah and Jerusalem.
This section describes them taking lots to determine who would live in Jerusalem and who wouldn’t.
- Understand, Living in Jerusalem meant living as the major target of Israel’s enemies
- and it meant living in a place of heavy poverty.
- It was far more comfortable and profitable to live outside the City then inside the city.
A sad reflection of what sin cost Israel.
- The Appointing Levities and Priests to the Temple.
There are showing great diligence and sacrifice to restore worship of the LORD (Yahweh).
- Describes Their Dedication of the Wall.
The dedication of the wall seems odd here because we stopped talking about the wall building in .
But it fits well if we consider that is primarily focused on the Reforms of Israel.
Nehemiah created a fitting conclusion by delaying his record of the Wall dedication until now.
The ceremony describes a dual procession of thanksgiving, praise, and great sacrifices.
A whole lot of Good works for God.
And finally,
- The Obedience to Separate from the Ammonites and Moabites (Historic enemies of Israel).
Nehemiah 13:1–3 ESV
1 On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, 2 for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them—yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 As soon as the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent.
They read the law, found the command, and obeyed it.
They had a lot of Good works.
They looked like they were really serious about obeying God.
How about enthusiasm?
Israel sounds like they are oozing with Joy, thankfulness, and praise for God.
Nehemiah 12:43 ESV
43 And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.
Neh 12:
Israel sounds like they are oozing with Joy, thankfulness, and praise for God.
They had an appearance of a revival.
They had joy.
They were doing great works for God.
And then you read .
feels like it belongs in another book.
You start read the rest of - and you have to ask
You start read - and you have to ask
What happened?
- Beginning to Regularly Read the Law.
- About the Returning to Practice the Appointed Feasts.
- About the Returning to Practice the Appointed Feasts.
- Extended Public Prayer and Promise to Keep the Law.
- Is an extended public prayer and promise to keep the Law.
- The Planned Re-Population of Judah and Jerusalem.
- The Appointing Levities and Priests to the Temple.
- Describes Their Dedication of the wall.
- The Obedience to Separate from the Ammonites and Moabites (Historic enemies of Israel).
After all the personal sacrifice, confession of sin, and praise of God in the book of Nehemiah,
the book ends with

2) Israel’s Betrayal of the Covenant. ()

Let that sink in your mind.
Nehemiah 13:4–31 ESV
4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, 5 prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6 While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king 7 and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8 And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. 9 Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. 10 I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. 11 So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. 14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service. 15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. 16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” 19 As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love. 23 In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. 27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?” 28 And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. 30 Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; 31 and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
Nehemiah 13 ESV
1 On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, 2 for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them—yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 As soon as the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent. 4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, 5 prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6 While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king 7 and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8 And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. 9 Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. 10 I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. 11 So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. 14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service. 15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. 16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” 19 As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love. 23 In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. 27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?” 28 And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. 30 Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; 31 and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
The text doesn’t tell us why, but Israel whole sale neglected the covenant they promised to keep in chapter 10.
Were told in that Nehemiah returns to Persia.
And while he is gone, Israel in every way neglects the Covenant.
Neh 13:6-7
Nehemiah 13:6–7 ESV
6 While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king 7 and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
The same people who built the wall.
And while he is gone,
The same people who carefully listened and applied the Law.
The same people who wept over their sin.
The same people who diligently provided for the temple.
The same people who rejoiced at the work of God.
These same people Completely and entirely betrayed the Covenant they promised to keep.
This chapter is meant to shock us, and be an eye opener for those of us who think we have it all together.
Consider the many ways this text records them neglecting the Covenant and betraying their God.
A. The Defilement of the Temple by Tobiah. (v. 4-9)
Nehemiah 13:4–9 ESV
4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, 5 prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6 While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king 7 and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8 And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. 9 Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.
2) The Absence of Nehemiah.
3) The Return of Nehemiah.
Tobiah was one of the enemies of Israel.
Nehemiah 2:19 ESV
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?”
Nehemiah 4:3 ESV
3 Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!”
Tobiah should have never been allowed in the city at all.
He was the sworn enemy of Israel.
But he had a relative, who let him in.
>>>> That relative was Eliashib, the high priest.
That relative was Eliashib, the high priest.
The same high priest who was apart of the
the dedication of the wall
re commitment to the Covenant,
and the restoration of Temple worship.
And of all places,
4) The Cleansing of the Temple Chambers by Nehemiah.
He let him live in the storehouse of the Temple.
What greater way could you possible betray God?
There are a few, but not many.
Letting the enemy of God and Israel defile the offerings of the Nation to the Lord - was a profound act of treason against God and country.
Further,
B. The Temple Offerings Were Neglected and the Temple Servants Fled. (v. 10-14)
Nehemiah 13:10–14 ESV
10 I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. 11 So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. 14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.
2) Nehemiah confronts Judah About the Neglect.
Neh
This wasn’t the act of a wicked leader,
3) Judah Gives the Tithe to the Temple and Temple Servants.
but whole sale neglect by the nation.
It constitutes the nation abandoning their worship of God.
4) Nehemiah’s Plea God to Not Wipe Out His Faithfulness.
Additionally,
C. The Sabath was Neglected. (v. 15-22)
2) The Tyrians Work on the Sabbath.
3) Nehemiah’s Reforms.
Nehemiah 13:15–22 ESV
15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. 16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” 19 As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.
a) The Questioning of Judah Regarding their Disobedience.
b) The Locking of Jerusalem Gates.
c) The Removal of the Merchants Outside the Gate.
d) Nehemiah Commands The Levites to Man the Gate.
Now we often think negatively about the Sabbath.
4) Nehemiah’s Plea For God to Remember His Work Based on God’s Steadfast Love.
- But the Sabbath wasn’t bad.
- It was a blessing from God in the Law.
>>>>>The Sabbath represents a day of rest and day of worship - going back to the 6 days of creation.
However,
The Neglect of the Sabbath was to blatantly disregard the Law and be indifferent to the worship of God.
Also, Israel went back to -
D. Intermarriage with the Canaanites. (v. 23-27)
Nehemiah 13:23–27 ESV
23 In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. 27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?”
2) The Reminder of the Sin and Fall of Solomon.
Remember, ,
because of the Law, separated from the Ammonites and Moabites.
But now there intermarriage to the point they children no longer can speak Hebrew.
They are essentially Canaanites families who have Jewish roots.
What a sad testimony of a nation who was given incredible mercy.
And finally,
E. Their Enemy Sanballat was Allowed in Jerusalem. (v. 28-29)
2) Nehemiah’s Plea for God to Remember Those Who Defiled the Priesthood, Covenant, and Levites.
F. Summary of the Conclusion.
1) Nehemiah Cleansed all Foreigners.
2) The Establishment of the Priestly and Levitical Duties.
3) The Appointment of Offerings.
4) Nehemiah’s Plea for God to Remember His Good.
It is likely that Sanballat was a Moabite, which explains why he is lumped in here at the end.
We just talked about the intermarriage problem with Moabites.
Nehemiah 13:28–29 ESV
28 And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.
Neh
Sanballat was the governor of Samaria - who was gunning to also rule Judah.
Why would you let one of your chief enemies in your city?
It makes no sense,
but Israel had compromised themselves so much that this also went unchecked.
- And may I add, Sanballat and Tobiah are no friends of the LORD.
- They both opposed the promises and work of God - even threatening violence against Israel and against Nehemiah.
What this accounts for - is a wholesale betrayal by the leaders and nation of Israel.
Most likely, this betrayal didn’t happen over night.
But they slowly became apathetic to
- the reading of the Law
- and the Worship of God at the Temple.
Most likel
That lead to a slow neglect of every aspect of the Law.
In case we think apathy is not a big sin like adultery or murder,
Which lea
In case we think apathy is not a big sin like adultery or murder,
let us realize how apathy lead Israel into total betrayal of God and his covenant.
let us realize how apathy lead Israel into total betrayal of God and his covenant.
A little bit of apathy has the power to take us much farther then we ever could realize.
If we realized the potential spiritual harm even a little apathy can cause,
we would run from it like we trying to get out of the way of freight train.
ILLUSTRATION:
If you ever seen some of these disaster videos.
People running from a tidal wave - and they are booking it as fast as they can.
They are like a deer running from the mountain lion.
That is what we would do to apathy - if we realized how dangerous apathy really is.
But we don’t think of apathy being that dangerous,
and so often we are duped just like Israel was.
We slowly unknowingly become indifferent to parts of our faith.
CONCLUSION:
CONCLUSION:
CONCLUSION:
So I ask you?
Does present good works guarantee faithfulness?
And clearly the answer is no - no matter how Great the sacrifice.
Israel stood in faith together to build the wall.
They sacrificed their time, money, and sleep.
They were willing to stand as a ready guard against enemies who outnumber them. (and that takes courage and commitment)
They were excited about the Word and boasted of God’s goodness.
But all those good works and enthusiasm did not guarantee their faithfulness.
In fact, history shows that the good works and enthusiasm was an empty faith.
It had the appearance of a revival,
but it was shallow and empty.
{{{{So far, I have warned you to consider the danger of apathy in your life.
How good works and joy now or in the past - does not guarantee faithfulness.}}}}}
I challenged us with the question - who is on the Lord’s side?
But now let me finish this passage by pointing you to hope.
Israel showed how far a little bit of sin can take you.
They showed that there is no good work that can guarantee you from not falling from the faith.
No amount of joy can guarantee we won’t walk away from God.
But the Gospel can do what human promises cannot.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
In other words, he promises not to let you depart from God.
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 ESV
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
In other Words,
1 Th 5
You can’t do it.
But that is exactly why God sent his son - Jesus.
- Jesus didn’t die on the cross just to make us worship him.
(As though he needed us)
- He died on the cross to buy for us what we could earn,
to give us what we don’t deserve.
The power to be faithful to the one who made us,
A promise to tired, broken people of rest from our natural desire to rebel against God.
A promise to tired, broken people of rest from our natural desire to rebel against God.
Consider today if your faith has apathy?
It is a dangerous foe.
Let’s leave resting in Christ, rejoicing in the goodness of God.
that he will make us whole again, faithfully
But also - leave here resting in Christ, rejoicing in the promises of God.
Response:
a) Why is the difference betwen and remarkable? How should this passage warn us?
b) How are Christians apathetic? How can apathy take us farther then we realize?
c) Do you know of Christians who abandoned the faith? How did apathy contribute to their betrayal of the good news?
d) In what ways is faithfulness our responsibility? In what ways is faithfulness God’s responsibility?
In case we think apathy is not a big sin like adultery or murder,
let us realize how apathy lead Israel into total betrayal of God and his covenant.
3) God’s Prophetic Plans at the Return From the Exile. (Theological Application of Nehemiah)
4) Nehemiah’s Lesson in Faithfulness. (Practical Application of )
(a) Good Works Does Not Equal Faithfulness.
(b) Present Faithfulness Does Not Guarantee a Lifetime of Faithfulness.
(c) The Gospel is the only hope for faithfulness.
(1) The Gospel guarantees forgiveness when we are unfaithful.
(2) The Gospel gives us the power to live faithful lives.
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