Keeping Commitments Neh. 13:1, 4-5, 8-12, 15-18 Jan. 28, 2007
Does it follow that the more ignorant a society is about the Bible the fewer commitments they make? In the text we see a correlation to the Word of God and the making of commitments. Nehemiah believed the Word of God and expressed commitments commanded in it. The Bible definitely encourages us to be among those Keeping Commitments.
1. Notice The . . Declaring Of Commitments In The Commands Of God’s Word. 13:1
A. Commitments Declared Through The . . Reading Of God’s Word. 13:1a
1 At that time the book of Moses was read publicly to the people.
B. Commitments Declared Through The . . Revelation Of God’s Word. 13:1a
“. . . The command was found written in it that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God,. . .”
I respect committed people, and especially those committed to the Lord and His Word. When God’s Word is read His people are informed. God’s Word if full of commandments that His people should be committed to keeping. God revealed His restrictions on certain people concerning their entrance into His holy temple. In today’s society God would never be considered “politically correct;” but He doesn’t seem to be very concerned. He alone knows what is best for us.
2. Notice The . . Dismissing Of Commitments In The Actions of Eliashib. 13:4-5
A. Commitments Dismissed Through . . Personal Considerations. 13:4
4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our
God. He was a relative of Tobiah
B. Commitments Dismissed Through . . Prepared Considerations. 13:5
5 and had prepared a large room for him where they had previously stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, and the tenths of grain, new wine, and oil prescribed for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, along with the contributions for the priests.
Some people can dismiss their commitments because of personal considerations for relatives or friends.
What seems logical to them, equals an okay from God in their mind. But that is not true. Eliashib went on his way dismissing the commands of God, and even made detailed preparations to take care of Tobiah to the neglect
of the priest and temple servants. God was not pleased, and expressed His anger through Nehemiah. He may on occasions desire to express His ager through us. It is interesting that earlier Tobiah opposed the rebuilding effort of the Jews.
3. Notice The . . Demanded Return To Commitments In The Action of Nehemiah. 13:8-12
A. Commitments Demanded Through . . Stern Actions. 13:8-9
8 I was greatly displeased and threw all of Tobiah’s household possessions out of the room.
9 I ordered that the rooms be purified, and I had the articles of the house of God restored there, along
with the grain offering and frankincense.
B. Commitments Demanded Through . . Scriptural Adjustments. 13:10-11
10 I also found out that because the portions for the Levites had not been given, each of the Levites and
the singers performing the service had gone back to his own field. 11 Therefore, I rebuked the officials,
saying, “Why has the house of God been neglected?” I gathered the Levites and singers together and
stationed them at their posts.
What do we do when we find the scriptures neglected? We do not act weakly or intimidated but with definite commitment to return the worship services, and the people to the practices commanded by the Lord.
If this takes stern action so be it. Scriptural adjustments must be made, and demonstrated to the people of God.
When the called out leaders follow the Word of God the people of God receive His blessings. It is a shame this action needed to take place, but praise God for men like Nehemiah who sternly take their stand for the commands of God.
4. Notice The . . Denunciation Of Sabbath Neglect. 13:15-18
A. Denunciation Through . . Righteous Indignation. 13:15
15 At that time I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing
in stores of grain and loading [them] on donkeys, along with wine, grapes, and figs. All kinds of goods
were being brought to Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I warned [them] against selling food on that day.
B. Denunciation Through . . Rebuking Industry Of The Sabbath. 13:16-18
16 The Tyrians living there were importing fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them on the
Sabbath to the people of Judah in Jerusalem. 17 I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them: “What
is this evil you are doing—profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do the same, so that
our God brought all this disaster on us and on this city? And now you are rekindling [His] anger against
Israel by profaning the Sabbath!”
There s a time for righteous indignation as it follows the example of Nehemiah, and Jesus. A few years ago when we launched the “True Lo ve Waits” emphasis of sexual purity, a major news paper placed a story about it with the heading, It’s About Time. In Nehemiah’s day I think some one said the same thing. Nehemiah rebuked the industry on the Sabbath day; does that need to be done today? I certainly think so! In my new pastorate today a layman, and I talked about the Sabbath, and he said, I do as the Lord did, and rest from all my labor on His day. Truly this is a way of Keeping Commitments. Amen? Amen! !