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Summary: Renewal and reform are constant in the life of faith. Yet … we always lend towards compromise, failure, and disobedience. It is important that keep vigilant not only of what we've been taught, but of one another as well.

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Nehemiah’s Final Instructions

Nehemiah 12:44 – 13:31

Introduction

- This week we finish this exciting journey into one of God’s greatest leaders

-- But more than that, one of God’s servants whose example we can follow

- Nehemiah is a great study of leadership; shows faithful obedience to God

- Last week we discussed the population of Jerusalem and the importance of:

• Each person is valuable to God (names listed specifically)

• Everything done for His kingdom is remembered (He never forgets)

• Spiritual growth requires time to pass, and for people to be led

• God, no matter is happening, should always be praised

- APP: When you read God’s word, we ought to be able to ask the “whys?”

-- This leads us to understanding of where we need to change/apply change

- Pray

∆ Point 1 – An Overview of Judah

- Read Nehemiah 12:44-13:3

- This section breaks up into two parts, the first can be called, “Levitical Protocols”

- After wall dedication, we come to a summary of the events taking place (v44)

-- Men were selected to be in charge of various activities of the city

-- Especially the storerooms in temple: for contributions, first fruits, and tithes

-- These storerooms were chambers attached to the temple as holding areas

- Contributions (prime produce) were meant to be given to the priests for services

-- Tithes were for the Levites for their services at the temple also

-- As Nehemiah writes it, the people were “pleased” to bring these to the temple

- The entire community had a sense of coming together and commitment

-- Each was done according to the Law, according to David’s earlier commands

- Nehemiah says (v47) that all Israel contributed to the harmony of the city

- It is notable that everything is not perfect, but these people had a purpose

-- Their purpose was to honor God because of what God had accomplished

-- Re: The reading of His word was a reminder, it served to convict them

-- From this, they (in shortest terms) … “got their act together”

- Even the Levites were committed, setting aside portions for other Levites

-- APP: Their own greed and need to thrive took a back seat to provide

- Next, we see there is a “Purification” time, or a setting aside to read God’s word

- The book of the Law was read aloud to all the people in the land

-- Now, there is something to note here that we should just take a moment

- Re: Israel was a peculiar people, and told not to mingle with the nations

-- Matthew Henry writes, “The benefit of publicly reading the word of God; when it is duly attended to, discovers to us sin and duty, good and evil, and shows where we have erred. We profit, when we are impressed to separate from evil.”

- For the Israelites, the preference to not intermingle allows them to focus inward

-- We know that converts to Judaism have always been allowed into the city

-- But in this time, in this place, there is separation from those on the outside

-- Why? They have enough problems at home and need to correct those FIRST

- APP: What a great sense of acknowledgement they have about themselves

-- They know who they are; what they need to fix: more imp: WHY it’s needed!

- TRANS: This brings us to our last passage of Nehemiah

∆ Point 2 – Final Instructions

- Nehemiah then gives three final instructions on how the people should live

-- Note: This happens later, after Nehemiah is back with King Artaxerxes

- He talks about the temple chambers, the Sabbath, and foreign influence

- Read Nehemiah 13:4-31

The temple chambers (4-14)

- Eliashib was put in charge of the chambers; he was the administrator

-- Remember though, one of the anti-wall builders was Tobiah

-- Eliashib and Tobiah were in cahoots of sorts; for what we are not sure

- But more than likely, they had some sort of political alliance together

-- Re: All of this happened while Nehemiah was out of Jerusalem

- This would’ve been a blasphemous use of what was ordained for God

-- Consider it like this: Tobiah was renting a storage locker in the church

- Nehemiah gives orders that this should not be (v8) and cleans house!

-- He says that these rooms are for God, and should be purified immediately

-- The rooms were then put back to use for God’s purposes in His temple

- What Nehemiah learns (v10) also is that Levites were not given their portion

-- In fact, the Levites had moved out and went back home

-- This infuriated Nehemiah and he sought to remedy this situation

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