Today’s passage: Nehemiah 13
- This chapter is believed to be the final chapter written in the Old Testament chronologically. The final book in the minor prophets (Malachi) was written in conjunction with the events of this chapter.
- This final chapter is really quite sad. As soon as Nehemiah was away and back at his post with the king of Persia, the Jewish leaders and people began to tear things apart all over again.
- The people were breaking the Sabbath.
- The High Priests family was desecrating the temple, consorting with the enemy (Sanballat & Tobiah), and intermarrying with pagans.
- In preparing a room for Tobiah in the temple, this would have included setting up pagan idols…in the temple.
- The Jewish people’s children were speaking the languages of other nations (Meaning, in their marriages with the pagan peoples, they were being assimilated into the world and forfeiting their distinction as God’s chosen people).
- The Jewish people were never going to be able to keep the covenant. They were and are sinners (Just like the rest of us). Man cannot accomplish righteousness through our own efforts. We need rescue. We need a savior!
Questions to consider:
- Why do you think, Nehemiah asked the Lord three times to remember him and his efforts for Jerusalem and these people? If you were in charge of a large group of people who were supposed to be following God and they continually rebelled, how might you feel about your leadership?
- While some might see the books of Ezra and Nehemiah as a time of triumph for the nation of Israel, what should we learn from them as it relates to the whole of Scripture? How does the continual inability of Israel/Jerusalem to live righteously point forward to the need for the Messiah to be a suffering servant and once-and-for-all sacrifice?
- How does the reality that man cannot achieve righteousness on our own point you to Jesus? Both for your salvation and your sanctification? How can it affect how you pray for others as well? How does it change how we might measure fruitfulness in our life?