Explore the Bible Series
January 28, 2007
Background Passage: Nehemiah 11:1-13:31
Lesson Passage: Nehemiah 13:1, 4-5, 8-12,15-18
Introduction: The Book of Nehemiah chronicles a significant revival among the Lordís people.† Careful study of Scripture and Christian History will quickly identify some of the essential marks of revival: earnest prayer, deep conviction of sin (corporate and individual), great energy in the service of God, rock-ribbed confidence in God during times of trial and opposition, perseverance, profound awareness of the glory of Jehovah, rapt attentiveness to the reading of the Scriptures, concern for holiness of life, and a renewal of covenant with God.† At times, Satan counterfeits revival, but the reforms of Nehemiahís day seem to transcend mere outward rehabilitation.† This revival touched the hearts of the people.
One sure mark of a genuine reviving work of God is the transformation of individual and corporate conduct.† When Godís people experience revival, the Holy Spirit transforms hearts, and this heart-renovation manifests itself in outward conduct.† The life, therefore, follows the heart.† As we complete our study of the Book of Nehemiah, we should examine the record of this revival to detect a final, vital element of true reformation.† Did the religious experiences of these people lead to a genuine transformation in their practical obedience to Jehovah?† Mark it down, dear brethren, it is possible that disingenuous people might, for a time, ape the outward trappings of religion; that is, they may maintain a merely formal and external profession of honorable living (Time will eventually disrobe this outward display of religiosity).† Jesus called such people ďwhited sepulchersĒ, beautiful and wholesome on the outside; yet full of dead menís bones. However, the converse can never occur.† I mean by this, that internal transformation always reveals itself in the outward obedience of a revived people.† I do not, of course, suggest that Godís people will live perfectly, but I do assert that a pure heart will lead to growth in practical holiness. Real revival is more than religious excitements and internal experiences.†
Chapters Nine and Ten describe the nature of the covenant
the Jews struck before the Lord.† The provisions
included careful Sabbath observance, proper use of the land, generous giving to
Outline of Background Passage:
A Covenant-Keeping People (11:1-36): At the end of
Chapter Nine, the inhabitants of
new inhabitants of
of surrounding villages (vv. 25-36): This list identifies the families that
were allowed to remain in the villages surrounding
The Generations of Levites that Presided Over
A. The linage of the priests (vv. 1-26): At first glance, it may seem odd that† Nehemiah mentions the priests who returned with Zerubbabel; however, the issues discussed here prove very relevant to the development of the story.† The Jews knew the importance of establishing a legitimate priesthood, and these contemporaries of Nehemiah traced their line back to the Levites of the earlier period.
B. The dedication of the wall (vv. 27-47): The celebration occasioned a great time of worship for Godís people.† The musical references seem particularly interesting.† Since the time of Zerubbabel, the Jews paid for the support of skilled musicians. The priests purified the people and led a great procession through the city.† Instrumentalists accompanied two choirs of singers, and all of the people, including the women and children, joined in the celebration.† They sang so wonderfully that the sound was heard far away (See v. 43).† O brethren, let us ever praise the Lord with joyful exuberance that all men might hear the delight of the Lordís people at worship.
C. The stewardship of the people (vv. 44-46): On this wonderful day of worship, the men appointed stewards to oversee the contributions of the people and apportion the gifts in ways that honored the Lord.† Godís people must ever take the safeguarding of tithes and offerings very seriously.† There can be no taint of greed, misappropriation, or scandal concerning these offerings.†
III. Final Reforms by Governor Nehemiah (13:1-31)
from the ungodly people of the region (vv. 1-3): The Ammonite and Moabite
people descended from
expulsion of Tobiah from the
C. The financial mistreatment of the Levites (vv. 10-14): The people had failed to attend to the financial needs of Levites, and Nehemiah acted to remedy this cruel oversight.† The laborer is, indeed, worthy of his hire.
D. The profaning of the Sabbath (vv. 15-22): Nehemiah discovered that the people conducted their business affairs, on the Sabbath Day, in violation of the clear commandments of the Lord.† Nehemiah reminded the Jews of the own tragic history of Sabbath breaking, and took steps to correct this serious problem.
with idolatrous spouses (vv. 23-32): The problem of these unfortunate marriages
continued to plague