Tuesday Devotions: A Study in Nehemiah

Do not Neglect the House of God

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte

Nehemiah 10:38-39 (NASB)

The priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse.  For the sons of Israel and the sons of Levi shall bring the contribution of the grain, the new wine and the oil to the chambers; there are the utensils of the sanctuary, the priests who are ministering, the gatekeepers and the singers. Thus we will not neglect the house of our God.”

As the Israelite people concluded the written contract with the Lord, and put in writing everything they committed while renewing their faith.  These verses again center on the importance of the tithe. Last week we saw the tithe as it pertained to the individual and their personal commitment. Whereas, in the verses today, God, through the pen of Nehemiah, explained the intended flow of resources in the sanctuary.

The priests and the men of Levi, the temple workers, are to receive the tithe from the people as their living wage, and in turn they were to give a tenth of what they receive back for the daily need and upkeep of the house of God.

We also see how specific God was regarding the process needed, plus each item needed for temple upkeep, such as new wine, oil and the utensils. This was all so the house of God would not be neglected. The flow – from the people to the priests to the temple of God.

When we think about our own tithes and offerings, I wonder if the lay church member understands the true importance and how God intended the house of God to be maintained. Do we think of our giving in terms of providing for those who are doing the work in ministry, and ultimately for the “house of God”.

In the New Covenant, the house of God is not specifically a building, although it can be in context of a church building, but rather, the house of God is the Body of Believers. We see this demonstrated beautifully in the book Acts at the birth of the church.

Acts 2:43-47

 “Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.  And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;  and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Acts 2:43-47, Life Among the Believers — Clergy Stuff

 

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

·         Make tithing and offerings a priority.

·         Make bring a good steward of all of God’s provision, including my time and talents.

·         There was a process set in place for a reason, that the house of God is not neglected. Make sure I follow the what God is telling me to do with my resources.

·         Actively seek out where we can be a blessing as “anyone might have a need.”

 

1 Peter 4:9-11 (NASB)

Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Luke 12: 48b (NASB)

… From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. What has God given me that I need to be intentional and faithful with His provision?
  2. How can I be a better steward with what God has given me?
  3. Where does God want me to concentrate my giving for the year to come?
  4. Is there a ministry that I can serve with my time and talents?

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