Part 13 – The Reforms of Nehemiah
Series: Nehemiah The Builder
Lesson: Part 13 – The Reforms of Nehemiah
Speaker: Pr. Ed Joddy Alanzalon
Passage: Nehemiah 13:14 (KJV)
Service: New Life Bible Class
Date: April 7, 2016
NEHEMIAH THE BUILDER
Lesson No. 14 THE REFORMS OF NEHEMIAH Chapter 13
Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof. —Nehemiah 13:14 (KJV)
The absence of a godly and righteous leader is a big loss to any nation that seeks peace, prosperity and national identity and security. In this last chapter, we find Nehemiah instituting significant reforms in the house of God and in the affairs of his nation. Israel’s lack of knowledge of God and His Word and its wicked leaders were the very first things Nehemiah had addressed. His able leadership and management paved the way to the re-structuring of the order of worship and offerings of the people. The Word of God was introduced, taught, exalted and declared to be the sole basis and centerpiece of Israel’s over-all spiritual, economic, social and political affairs. And Nehemiah victoriously led his people all throughout their spiritual and social transition and transformation.
1. He split up the existing mixed multitude which resulted from intermarriages (vv. 1-3). Nehemiah literally separated the Jews from the heathen, though this was very hard on the part of married people especially those with children. He dealt strongly with the new generation of Jews and expelled foreigners who do not know and acknowledge God and His Word.
2. He took care of the house of God (vv.4-6, 8, 11). He re-instated proper order of worship, manner of giving, the altar duties of priests and Levites and the people’s involvement and participation.
3. He demanded the people to give their offerings to God so that there may be meat in the house of the Lord (vv. 12-13). It must be recalled that the Levites had to leave their altar duties and do secular jobs so they can eat and live and survive. Nehemiah taught the nation of Israel that this should not happen again to the ministers and servants of God. He taught them that God designed to meet the needs of His house through the offerings of His people.
4. He ordered the people to respect and observe the Sabbath day (vv.15-23). This was the Old Testament day for worship, reading of the Pentateuch and gathering of families together. Nehemiah instructed the people not to do anything on this day except to come and worship God in the temple.
5. He dealt strongly with those who had intermarriages with the Gentiles (vv.24-29). He made them swear before God that they will not enter into mixed marriages again or else, God will destroy them and the whole nation of Israel. He dismissed and sent away foreign wives. Here we find Nehemiah standing strong against any form of compromise. And we should all be like him. We should never give in to this world and to all its enticements
6. He cleansed and overhauled the whole structure of worship (vv.30-31). The whole nation of Israel and its leaders have defiled the priesthood, the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites. Nehemiah resembled the process adopted by Ezra (Ezra 10:5-17). He appointed and assigned wards of priests and Levites that would take care of worship, singing and offerings.
7. He appealed to God for mercy and understanding (vv. 14, 22, 28, 31). The contemptible and helpless condition of Israel stemmed from the people’s lack of knowledge of God and from their forgotten national heritage and identity as God’s chosen nation. The new generation of Jewish people did not even know their own Hebrew language and so they cannot read and understand the Word of God by themselves. Nobody from the lines of the royals and nobles had ever tried to open the Word of God and make it known to the younger generation. See that when God’s Word is concealed, people grope in darkness. These and many other spiritual and social problems and ills led Nehemiah to appeal before God for mercy, understanding, restoration, deliverance and preservation.
Nehemiah’s life and leadership manifested that there is no true and dependable leadership without God. The Lord through Nehemiah sent hope, deliverance and restoration to the nation of Israel. And through God’s strength, he fought a good fight of faith. He knew God was on his side. He never flinched nor even doubted God’s ability and power to redeem and prosper once again his downtrodden nation. This ought to remind us that God goes before us and leads us to victory. Times of trouble, opposition and distress may come to us anytime, yet we do not need to be afraid of them and lose hearts. All we must do is to remember that we have a God who watches over us and keeps us. Psalmist David confident of God’s power wrote in Psalms 56, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His Word; in God I have put my trust. I would not fear what flesh can do to me.”
God never promised us an easy life and ministry but like Nehemiah, we must learn to seek Him and follow His ways. We must pray for daily strength and ask Him to use our lives more to impact our beloved nation with the Gospel of Christ. God did not fail Nehemiah and He will just do same for you and me who labor faithfully in His service.
—BMA’s Messages 04.10.16