Nehemiah 13 - Need For Renewal

1 Why was God hard on the Ammonites and Moabites? What were the Israelites to do with them? Other verses which relate. Ex 34:15, 16; Deut 7:1 - 4 , Josh 23:12, 13; Mal 2:11,12. How do we see Israel today?

They did not give the Israelites provision on their journey in fact they sought out a prophet, Balaam to bring curses against them. The Israelites were to totally destroy them.

2 After Nehemiah 13:3, Nehemiah returned to the palace in Susa to his old job in 432 B.C. , (v.6) but Artaxerxes sent him back in 420 B.C. to a second term of governor of Jerusalem and Judea. What had Eliashib the priest done while Nehemiah was gone?

He allowed Tobiah to take residence in the storehouses in the temple. This was an abomination which even Nehemiah refused to do when tempted by Shemaiah (6: 10 ff)

3 When a church disregards God's standards, can it expect the people to continue to support it with its finances? How should we respond if people's giving is not covering the cost of the church work? Does a prosperous church automatically indicate God's blessing?

When a church disobeys God's laws, it will eventually see a decline in membership and finances. It may take a generation or perhaps 2 be it will slowly deteriorate. With charismatic leaders, congregations can continue to do well but when a tree is rotten in the middle it eventually falls down.

4 Why did the storehouse have to be purified?

It had been inhabited by a gentile so it was seen as unclean.

5 Why were Shelemiah, Zadok and Pedaiah put in charge of the storehouse? V. 13

These were men who could be trusted.

6 Who did Nehemiah question about the neglect of the temple?

Nehemiah "contented" with the rulers because they were the ones who should have been responsible for the enforcement of the covenant they had signed.

7 When everything was cleansed and in place again what was the next step? v. 12

They began to bring in the oil, grain and wine.

8 The prophet Malachi was speaking to the people in Jerusalem during this time period. What did he say that the people were doing and what was his promise? Mal 3:8 - 12

Bring into the storehouse and God will bless you.

9 Based on verse 14 do you think that Nehemiah felt that this was a hard thing to do or why would he have said this? Have you ever taken a stand which seemed very difficult?

It appears that Nehemiah's prayer was an indication that this was not an easy thing for him to do. As a layperson (albeit he was the civil leader) it was hard to uphold the Torah law because the religious leaders were not taking the leadership for "enforcing" the law. These violations of the law seemed to cause real spiritual grieve to Nehemiah.

10 What was Nehemiah's concern about working on the Sabbath? V 18ff

Do you think that the Sabbath should be respected by Christians and God's wrath is upon those that ignore God's Sabbath? v. 15 - 22

By ignoring God's provision for the Sabbath, Nehemiah believed the wrath of God was brought upon their nation and they were sent into exile. The Land rested 70 years ( the number of years they had neglected the year of jubilee and Sabbath years.)

11 Why do you think that God made a law that the Israelites were never to marry people from other nations? What insight did Nehemiah have on this? V. 23 - 29

When the Israelites intermarried, their children did not speak the language of the Torah. They would not be taught the Torah by the unbelieving spouse and thus within several generations, the whole society could come to the point were the Word of God was not understood nor followed.

12 Notice that Eliashib the high priest's family was guilty of this as well. What did Nehemiah do about this? Do you think his reaction was a little strong? What does this show about Nehemiah's character? Did his office give his authority which we might not have to carry out similar cleansing?

Nehemiah drove him out. It appears as though this grandson of Eliashib had married the daughter of Sanballat who was a gentile. Thus he was not qualified. The high priest was more concerned about political friendships than doctrinal purity. We do not have any information about Nehemiah trying to negotiate with this person but perhaps because the priests had defied the temple Nehemiah was ready to take action. Jesus also cleansed the temple by driving out the merchants.

13 What does Gal 6:1 - 5 tell us to do? Why and in what spirit should this be done?

We are to go to the brother and seek to bring him back to God. This should be done in the spirit of gentleness and concern, lest we too end up sinning later. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

14 How are we to approach those in authority when they violate of the Word of God? Might that also include working or buying or selling on the Sabbath? Does going to restaurants on Sunday fall into this category as well?

We should seek to always follow God's ways. We will fail at times but our goals is that scripture should become so ingrained in our mind that we always follow God's way and think God's thoughts. We often are quite careless about some laws when it is not convenient for us. When we cannot control the situation like working on Sunday it is difficult to quit if we have to work on a Sunday.

15 Are we concerned about the wrath of God on our nation because we violate God's laws? Why or why not? Is there anything we should do about it?

God's goodness and justice falls on the righteous and the wicked. If God punishes a nation, even the just like Daniel were forced into captivity. If we do not stand up for justice and our nation falls into wickedness, the whole nation will eventually fall under God's judgement.

16 How did Nehemiah treat those who had married wives from other counties and language groups?

Nehemiah seemed to be very aggressive toward those who had married foreign wives. He belived that if the children could not read the Torah they would fall away from the faith. Foreign mothers would not teach their children the Hebrew language if they did not know it.

17. What was Nehemiah’s model for why he felt it was important to purify his nation?

Nehemiah was concerned about the nation that it would follow God faithfully because if it didn't, it would face God's punishment once again. Even Solomon who began his reign as a godly king fell because he married foreign women who brought into his household other gods. The nation fell away from the worship on the one true God by being led astray by intermarriage with unbelievers.

18. What did Nehemiah ask God to do because of the sins of the priests?

He asked God to remember what they had done to defile the temple. This was a way of asking God to punish them in whatever way God would see fit.

19. What did Nehemiah do organizationally to make sure that the Jewish faith would prosper?

Nehemiah made sure that the priests were not compromising and that they were provided for.

20. What was Nehemiah’s last request? Why do you think he made it?

"Remember me with favour." was his request. I think Nehemiah struggled with the unfaithfulness of his people. He had sought to bring God's favour on his people by restoring a level of spiritual life back into the society. He knew that they had gone into exile because of unfaithfulness and he didn't want that to happen again.

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