Remember Me Part 1
By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte
Nehemiah 13 1-14 (NASB)
13 On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud [a]as the people listened; and there was found written in it that no Ammonite or Moabite was ever to enter the assembly of God, 2 because they did not meet the sons of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 So when they heard the Law, they excluded all foreigners from Israel 4 Now prior to this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, being [b]related to Tobiah, 5 had prepared a large [c]room for him, where previously they used to put the grain offerings, the frankincense, the utensils and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil prescribed for the Levites, the singers, and the gatekeepers, and the [d]contributions for the priests. 6 But during all this time I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had come to the king. After some time, however, I requested a leave of absence from the king, 7 and I came to Jerusalem and [e]learned about the evil that Eliashib had committed for [f]Tobiah, by preparing a [g]room for him in the courtyards of the house of God. 8 It was very displeasing to me, so I threw all of Tobiah’s household articles out of the room. 9 Then I gave an order, and they cleansed the rooms; and I returned the utensils of the house of God there with the grain offering and the frankincense. 10 I also [h]discovered that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so the Levites and the singers who performed the service had [i]gone away, each to his own field. 11 So I [j]reprimanded the officials and said, “Why has the house of God been neglected?” Then I gathered them together and stationed them at their posts. 12 All Judah then brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 To be in charge of the storehouses, I appointed Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah from the Levites, and in addition to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were considered reliable, and it was [k]their task to distribute to their kinsmen. 14 Remember me for this, my God, and do not wipe out my loyal deeds which I have performed for the house of my God and its services.
Dear fellow Bible Study readers and participants, in the next two weeks we will be wrapping up our time in Nehemiah. I want to thank you for following along on this journey with me through the book of Nehemiah, and for being patient as work obligations made it necessary for me to take a break during the month of May.
In three weeks I will begin a new series on 1 Peter, I hope you will join me.
The final chapter of Nehemiah takes place after the walls and the city have been rebuilt. Nehemiah went back to his job as cupbearer to the King, and now twelve years later, he returned to Jerusalem to check on their progress only to find the state of the people and the city lacking to say the least.
It seems, Nehemiah’s old nemesis Tobiah not only returned, but he had taken up residence in the Temple, occupying one of the main storehouses. The Levites were not receiving their portion of the tithes and the entire house of the Lord was neglected.
Nehemiah’s first order of business was to remove Tobiah, and restore order, and appointed new leaders who would take charge of the oil, wine and grain for the storehouses. In verse 14 Nehemiah begs God to remember him and not to wipe out his loyal deeds. Can you imagine how he might have felt?
Nehemiah worked so hard for God. He pulled the Israelite people together, and in an astounding miracle, they rebuilt the broken down walls and burned gates in record time. They fought off the opposition and re-populated the city. Together the people re-instituted temple worship and order to life. Yet in a few short years, tithes stopped, and the enemy had not only returned, he had taken up residence in the house of God.
Nehemiah left Eliashib the priest in charge. Yet, this man who was supposed to be the spiritual leader and shepherd to God’s flock, was not a good shepherd. In essence, since there was not a good watchman, or a strong shepherd of the people, the enemy jumped at his opportunity.
Isn’t that how things are today? We, the American Church has let our guard down. The enemy has infiltrated, and he has tried to take up residence in many of our lukewarm churches.
Revelation 3:14-17 (NASB)
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the [k]Origin of the creation of God, says this: 15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have no need of anything,” and you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”
What can we learn from Nehemiah?
· Make sure everything I do has a positive impact on others.
· Make sure we are mentoring the next generation to be strong leaders for Christ so we do not leave a void.
· Nehemiah did not mess around; he cleansed the evil that had taken up residence in the temple. When we see evil, do not waste time. Do what we can to get rid of what is trying to take residence.
· Both at the start and at the end of the book, Nehemiah’s heart was broken for his people and He is crying out to God to remember his work. Make sure my heart is always on fire for God.
· Take a stand for what is right. Do not let the fear of man make us lukewarm.
Revelation 3:19-22 (NASB)
19 Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 The one who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne. 22 The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Like Nehemiah, we need to ask God to remember our deeds, but also like Nehemiah, we need to take a stand and do what we can to right the wrongs, and evil that have taken root. We need to take a stand for God. If we do, God promises us a seat with Him in Heaven.
What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?
- What has God entrusted to me that I have been neglecting?
- In what area of my life have I allowed the enemy to take up residence?
- In what area of my life have I become lukewarm?
- What is God breaking my heart over, and where do I need to take a stand?