Spiritual Zeal One thing we should always remember is the collective events that happened during old testament times are personalised for every individual in the new testament times.
Nehemiah's jealous for God kindles our spirit (Neh 13th Chp):
He casts away all the stuff of Tobiah from the house of God.
We need to take away all the cursed things out of our hearts.
Contended with the rulers for the justification of Levites and singers.
We should pray for the protection of the servants of God and for the evangelists
He contended with the nobles of Judah for profaning the sabbath day with merchandise.
Understand the importance of day of resurrection and worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth
He contended with the Jews for having married with the gentiles and cleansed and separated the children of God from gentiles. We should understand our calling and should live a Holy and separated life.
Let's always be nourished and cherished by the Word of God.
Stay blessed, Ravi Bharat
Nehemiah 12: 44--47 The Joy of Hearing, Doing and Giving
When the Law was read and expounded to the people by Ezra and a group of 13 Levites, the people heard it attentively and started to weep and mourn ✒ Neh 8:7-9. Nehemiah urged them "not to weep nor mourn but to rejoice; and exhort them to continue with an assurance "the Joy of the Lord is your strength". Two events had showered the joyous moments in the lives of the people.
Feast of Tabernacle:The heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law (8:13). This led them to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacle with joy and happiness (... their joy was very great 8:17b
Dedication of the wall of JERUSALEM: The walls of Jerusalem had been completed, and so the Dedication Ceremony was to be joyful with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. The singers and the levites were brought to the city for the occasion (12:27-30). The dedication ceremony began with a procession led by two large choirs
On that day they OFFERED great sacrifices, REJOICING because God gave them a GREAT JOY. The women and children also REJOICED. The sound of REJOICING in Jerusalem could be heard far away (12:43)
It seems that the people at dedication ceremony had found expression in gifts to the temple. Men had to be appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for Contributions, First fruits and Tithes (v 44). A Christian Financial Planner, Ron Blue breaks down the question of how much to give into 3 Ps: Proportion, Plan and Precommitted
We should give proportionately on a planned basis and on a recommitted basis.
~ Give an amount that is proportionate to the amount that God has prospered you.
~ You should, by planning, give more than a proportionate amount.
~ And you should commit in advance to give some of the amount God provides on a totally unexpected basis (viz Bonus, Inheritance, Gift etc)
Paul writes, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give: not reluctantly or under compulsion "
"God loves a cheerful givers 2Cor 9:7
In today's reading portion, the people were pleased with the work the priests and Levites were doing and with the restored work of the musicians and gatekeepers, and so they were happy to support their work. It is true even today. The joy of Giving comes when missions works progress.
Glory to God, Mark Boje, ArP
12:27 - It is good to celebrate what God has accomplished through His willing servants. This not only honours and praises the Lord, who made it possible, but encourages us to acknowledge His gracious work through us.
12:43 - Great joy is a sign of the redeemed heart and powerfully attracts the attention of those who would like to experience it.
13:2 - God is an expert at turning curses into blessings. When did He last do this for you?
13:21 - Too many of us confuse the words”nice” and “godly”. They are not the same thing. A godly man may at times have to speak forcefully and with great zeal, whereas a nice man might avoid the situation.
13:26 - Because intimacy with God is His highest priority for our lives, the Lord forbids inter marriages of believers with unbelievers. Why would we ever want to do anything that threatens to damage a close relationship with Him?
It is so good to see that after the completion of the wall of Jerusalem, they didn't just stop there. They went on to ask Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses and got him to read it before all who could understand, Nehemiah 8, vs 1-3. The people were eager to hear the Law and showed deep reverance and worshiped the Lord, and began to weep as they heard the same, vs 6. Then Ezra, Nehemiah and some Levites encouraged them not to weep but to eat, drink and share their meals with those who had nothing prepared, for that day was holy unto the Lord and the joy of the Lord was their strength, vs 10.
The next time they met, they realised that they should live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month, vs 14. So they obeyed what they understood and everyone who obeyed experienced great joy, vs 17! On the 24th day of the same month, they deeply repented before the Lord, fasting, wearing sackcloth, and covering their heads with dust, Nehemiah 9:1. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all the foreigners and they spent six hours repenting of their sins and worshiping the Lord after hearing the words of the Law for 6 hours before that, vs 2,3!
Then the Levites blessed the Lord and recounted His goodness and mercy towards their ancestors inspite of their continued ungratefulness and apostasy, vs 5-37! They now pledged to enter into a binding covenant with the Lord, vs 38, to obey all His commandments, Nehemiah 10:vs 29.
They particularly determined not to marry foreigners, to honour the Sabbath, let the ground lie fallow every seventh year, cancel debts too and accepted the responsibility to pay their tithes regularly, vs 30-32, making sure that the temple of God was not neglected, vs 39. Then they went on to dedicate the wall amidst great celebration with songs, accompanied by musical instruments, offering of great sacrifices and with great rejoicing, vs 27,43! However, in the 32nd year of King Artaxerxes of Babylon during which Nehemiah had gone back to serve the king, the people began to backslide once again, Nehemiah 13:6!
To begin with the priest Eliashib supplied his relative Tobiah, (who had previously strongly opposed the work) a store room in the courts of the temple, vs 7. On his return, Nehemiah being angered on seeing this, instinctively threw all Tobiah's possessions out if the store room, vs 8. Further, on discovering that the grain offerings for the Levites had not been provided, and that as a result the Levites and the singers who performed this work had all gone off to their fields, vs 10, he registered a complaint and saw to it that responsible men were appointed to handle this issue and gathered the Levites and singers and assigned them to their positions, vs 11-13. He also found those in Judah defaulting when it came to keeping the Sabbath holy, as well as others, who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab, vs 15,23!
He left no stone unturned to take strick action against them, as well as, against the grandson of the high priest Eliashib who was the son in law of Sanballat the Hornite, who had caused them immense harrassment together with Tobiah, vs 28! In this way by making sure not to be partial to anyone who dared to disregard the law of God, Nehemiah did the best he could to bring the people back to obedience to God's laws, statutes and ordinances. He began his work in Jerusalem in the 20th year of the reign of King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah 2:1, and in the 32nd year, Nehemiah 13:6, found himself having to strongly discipline those who got sidetracked into disobedience once again! This shows us so clearly that doing 'a work' for the Lord in terms of activity, without repentance, is not a complete work that the Lord will approve of! Unless a leader realises the seriousness of disobedience to God's laws, and makes sure to consistently enforce the same, he will always find those who think it justifiable as to why some laws don't need to be followed implicitly! This downward trend, which is inevitably with the passing of time, must and can be stopped only by wholeheartedly leaders of the likes of Nehemiah and Ezra.
For it is only such, who know, believe and obey these laws for themselves, who will have the right and authority to ensure that they are not disobeyed by others! And, It is only such kind of leaders who will end up doing a lasting work for God in their generation!
Rowena Thomas, Mumbai, India.
Why is the House of God Neglected