Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Guard the Gates

O. T. #1078  "Guard the Gates"
Oct. 11, 2017
Nehemiah 13-Part 2
Have compassion on me according to your great and unfailing love. Nehemiah 13:22 NLT
Spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy. KJV


If our gates here on the farm are not inspected every so often, they might allow the cattle to wander out of the pastures, even onto the road. Sometimes they don't get closed as we leave the field. Sometimes the cows push on them. We need to guard them.
Similarly, are we guarding the gates of our homes and churches from the evil trying to get inside and corrupt our lives? Trying to cause us to stray from God's Word?

Jerusalem's gates were down when Nehemiah came back to Jerusalem from his return to Persia. He found the Jews were violating the Mosaic Laws. They were associating with unbelievers, desecrating God's house, and neglecting to tithe. There were two other ways in which they violated the Law:

4. Working on the Sabbath-not honoring it and keeping it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11)
  • Not only were the Jews working on the Sabbath, but they allowed foreigners to conduct business in Jerusalem on the Sabbath.
The correction:
  • Nehemiah rebuked the nobles, charging them with perverting the Sabbath and warning them this sin brought on their previous captivity.
  • He ordered the gates of city closed on the Sabbath, stationing his guards there so no merchandise could enter.
  • As the merchants camped outside the gates on the Sabbath, the governor warned them they would be arrested if continued.
  • He ordered the Levites to purify themselves ceremonially and guard the gates. Nehemiah prayed for God's help and mercy in this matter.
Keeping the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. God knows that people need worship and rest. Working continuously causes the body to tear down. Our empty souls need refilled with God. He energizes and refreshes us.
As the gates closed, it stopped products from being transported in and out of Jerusalem. This cost the merchants living in Jerusalem, as well. They had to give up one day of income out of seven days.

Do we need to make a change in our life?


5. Marrying unbelievers-not building a godly family.
  • Mixed marriages resulted in the children not being able to speak the Hebrew language, in which God's Word was written.
The correction: Nehemiah rebuked the Israelites by
  • confronting those guilty, calling down curses on them;
  • beating some of them and pulling their hair out (a sign of disgrace);
  • causing them to renew their oath;
  • reminded them of Solomon's marrying foreign wives led him into sin;
  • exiled High Priest Eliashib for marrying Sanballat's daughter;
  • prayed God would judge the grandson and Sanballat, having defiled the priesthood.
Was that was quiet drastic? Think about it-Nehemiah and Ezra worked so hard teaching and guiding the Jews in God's Laws for their life, that it must have disappointed them for the failings and sins of their people. They knew all of this could lead them down a path of captivity again.

How did it end up? Nehemiah held a purification service, reassigning the priests, reestablishing the offerings, and prayed for God's favor. What a leader. How seriously he took God's Word. He ought to please and obey God first.


Change my ways.
Honor the Lord's Day as a day of worship and rest.
Ask daily for God's love, mercy, and compassion.

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