When last we left Nehemiah and the people in Jerusalem, Israel had experienced spiritual renewal. They had committed to observing Godís laws (10:29). They had even signed a document (9:38-10:27), And, when the wall was complete, they dedicated it with a service of praise and worship (12:27-47)
When Nehemiah returned for a second term as governor, he found a spiritually weak Israel. Tobiah had been given rooms in the temple!
Remember Tobiah? He had tried to stop the rebuilding of the wall; He had been involved in a conspiracy to attack Israel. Heíd been part of a scheme to harm Nehemiah. And when all that failed, he wrote intimidating letters filled with lies.
Tobiah probably gained his rooms in the temple through intermarriage (13:4, 6:17-18)
Profaning the Sabbath Day
Even though they had vowed not to (10:31), Israel had profaned the Sabbath (13:15-22)
The people were working, selling, and buying on the Sabbath. Didnít they learn? (13:18)
Neglecting Godís House
Rooms that were to be used to hold offerings and tithes were given to Tobiah (13:5)
The Levites were not being taken care of (13:6,10)
Violating Marriage Commitments
Even though they had vowed not to (10:30), Israel had intermarried (13:23)
Tobiah wasnít the only one with ties to Israelís leaders (13:28) Didnít they learn? (13:25)
Zealous for God
Notice Nehemiahís reactions to Israelís lack of commitment. He didnít ignore it, and just try to get along with everyone.
He emphasized the holiness of Godís House (13:8,9,11,12,13)
He emphasized the holiness of Godís Day (13:17-22)
He emphasized the holiness of being Godís People (13:25-30)
#1) Itís important to give the reins of leadership to spiritually qualified people
We are responsible to confront disobedience, in others or ourselves, with the truth
Adam and Eve were not robots. They made a choice. Then, in the OT, Godís people were bound by the law. Now, in the NT, we as believers are again subject to inner discipline. Our law is Love God with all our heart and our neighbors as ourselves.
Dishonoring God in our Associations with Unbelievers
Paul clearly made this point in II Cor. 6:14-18
However, this doesnít mean total separation (I Cor. 5:9,11)
We are to be examples & witnesses in our relationships (Matt. 5:13-16)
Dishonoring God with our Material Possessions
Remember to tithe. We are to give:
Systematically (I Cor. 16:2)
Proportionately (I Cor. 16:2)
Cheerfully (II Cor. 9:6,7)
We can expect God to meet our needs (Luke 12:22-34)
Dishonoring God with our Time
In the OT, the Sabbath was holy, and its observance was a rigid law.
But, just like Christians can take advantage of Godís grace when released from a strict law of giving, itís easy to take advantage of Godís grace when released from a strict Sabbath law.
Be careful not to neglect our time spent with God, with our families, and with other Christians.