Archives For Nehemiah

As we finish up Nehemiah, we are reminded of the importance of our relationships. In Nehemiah 13:23-31, we see how the people had gone back to mixing their marriages with non-believers. As we are creating relationships with people around us, we must remember that for those crucial relationships like a spouse, we need someone who is going to help us and encourage us in the same faith. While not impossible, it is certainly much harder when we are joined together with someone who does not believe in Jesus.

Even if we are in a relationship with another believer, do we seek strength and encouragement from that relationship? Are we willing to move forward with that person and let them know our victories and our struggles? For someone to truly hold us accountable, we must be open and transparent with them about all that we are going through. Are we surrounding ourselves with like-minded believers and are we being open with them?

So far in this chapter, Nehemiah has addressed several areas where the children of Israel have neglected the commands of God and become lax in their obedience. Here in Nehemiah 13:15-22, the people have forgotten the Sabbath. Do we take time to rest and relax in God? We cannot continue the frantic pace that many of our lives have become. God knows how much we need to rest in Him. The people had neglected it and Nehemiah not only told them about it, he enforced it.

We cannot alwsys just tell ourselves what is right, we must also set up things that hold us accountable to following through on our commitment. Are we being obedient to rest? If not, how will we, like Nehemiah, create barriers to help us do what we know is right to do?

Giving. Many people have heard pastors talk about money. In fact, it is often criticized as being spoken about too often. Yet here in Nejemiah 13:10-14, we see the practical side of tithing. True, it is important to tithe as it is a way to demonstrate o edience and trust in God. But, the other purpose of the tithe is to allow the servants God has chosen to be provided for so that they can focus on serving. Here, the tithe was not happening, so the servants left their service so they could go and make a living. Nehemiah trstored them to service and saw them provided for.

Are we being obedient with our tithes? There are so many impacted by our obedience or disobedience.

What have we given a room to? In Nehemiah 13:3-9, he had gone back to his job with the king, but while he was gone, some of the men had taken one of the evil men and giving him a room in the temple. Nehemiah came back to visit and check on things, and found this out. He immediately demanded that they remove that person and cleanse the room. What things are we providing room for in our heart?

We can be quick to give space for things that are not pleasing to God, but that we don’t want to get rid of. We must examine our hearts and ensure that the only things in there are Jesus Christ himself and anything He’s given as a way to serve and Obey Him. Don’t give room to anything else!

Obedience. The people of Nehemiah’s time had learned so much about obedience already, but we see in chapter 13, verses 1-3 another example. Here, they didn’t know what they were supposed to do. They had been allowing something that was not right to go on. But, the moment they were confronted with it, they immediately turned and repented and made it right.

Do we do the same? When we are confronted with something being wrong, do we accept that and move directly to obedience? Or, do we make excuses and justifications instead? Nothing less than obedience is what God desires.

Worship and giving go together. In Nehemiah chapter 11, starting in verse 27 through the end of the chapter, we see the people preparing for the worship service to dedicate the work that they had done to restore the walls of Jerusalem. We see all the people that are involved and the big steps and production that they went to to be able to proclaim their worship of God and thanks for all he allowed them to accomplish. What’s so interesting to me, is that immediately after the worship, it talks about giving. It explains what the people were giving back to God as a response to the worship.

Time and time again throughout scripture, we see worship and giving going together. How can we truly understand and praise God for who he is, if it does not lead us to the place where we recognize he owns it all and out of love for him we can give all to him? If we are truly worshiping God, it will lead us to a deep desire to give back to him. What are we giving back to the Lord today?

Another list of names. In Nehemiah 12:1-26 we see a listing of all the priests and those who were serving the Lord. Interestingly, there is specification that they were in charge of thanks and praise to God. If we were in charge of thanks and praise, what would we say? Would we see all the things around us that are worthy of praise?

God has commanded us to praise Him. We can consider ourselves in charge of praise for our own lives. Are we fulfilling that command?

Outside Jerusalem. Yesterday, we saw how important it was to get people to live inside Jerusalem. Today, in Nehemiah 11:20-36, we see that God is also concerned where everyone else lives. God does not just concern Himself with the tithe, like we learned yesterday, God is concerned with all. We cannot just tell God, “Ok, I gave You Your tithe, now I’m going to do whatever I want with the rest.” God desires to see us be obedient to Him with all that we have. Will we trust Him today with everything?

Where are the people? In Nehemiah 11:1-19, now that Nehemiah has rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem, the question becomes who is going to live there? You see nobody wants to live in an unprotected and undefended city, so nobody was living there. But now, this city has a wall. The city is defended. The city is the capital city and the holy city of God, and it needs people living in it. So how did they find the people to live there? Essentially, they took a tithe of people.

A lot of times when we hear the word tithe we automatically think money. 10% of our money should go to God. That’s true, but a tithe does not necessarily have to mean just money. In this case they tithed people. They took 10% of their people and moved them to Jerusalem. When we look at our life, yes, giving God from our money is important as it shows trust and dependence and obedience to God. However, it’s not just money that we need to tithe to God. Are we tithing our time? Are we tithing our resources? Everything we have, we have because God allowed us to have it. He owns it all and he is deserving of our obedience in tithing in all areas.

Where’s your accountability? Looking at Nehemiah chapter 10, we see through the entire chapter today a long list of names of individuals and then a list of expectations for those individuals. A lot of times we wonder why are names listed in the Bible, especially those really long lists of names. Here I see those names as an opportunity for accountability. Nehemiah knew that these people would have expectations put upon them. If they were truly going to lead the people of Israel, they needed to be the very best at what they did and be obedient to God. One of the easiest ways to ensure that is by listing their names along with the list of actions and duties they are responsible for do others could read and know.

How do we hold ourselves accountable? God desires our obedience, in fact, he demands it. Yet we can say that we will be obedient and then we may or may not follow through with that. Which brings us back to the question, how do we hold ourselves accoutable? Do we list our names in front of other people who know what the expectations should be and then question us as to whether we are meeting those? Today, how are we going to ensure that we are being held accountable to being obedient to the commands of God?