Nehemiah 13* Nehemiah turns out the mixed multitude. (1-9) Nehemiah'sreform in the house of God. (10-14) Sabbath-breaking restrained.(15-22) The dismissal of strange wives. (23-31)1-9 Israel was a peculiar people, and not to mingle with thenations. See the benefit of publicly reading the word of God;when it is duly attended to, it discovers to us sin and duty,good and evil, and shows wherein we have erred. We profit, whenwe are thus wrought upon to separate from evil. Those that woulddrive sin out of their hearts, the living temples, must throwout its household stuff, and all the provision made for it; andtake away all the things that are the food and fuel of lust;this is really to mortify it. When sin is cast out of the heartby repentance, let the blood of Christ be applied to it byfaith, then let it be furnished with the graces of God's Spirit,for every good work. 10-14 If a sacred character will not keep men from setting anevil example, it must not shelter any one from deserved blameand punishment. The Levites had been wronged; their portions hadnot been given them. They were gone to get livelihoods forthemselves and their families, for their profession would notmaintain them. A maintenance not sufficient, makes a poorministry. The work is neglected, because the workmen are.Nehemiah laid the fault upon the rulers. Both ministers andpeople, who forsake religion and the services of it, andmagistrates, who do not what they can to keep them to it, willhave much to answer for. He delayed not to bring the Levites totheir places again, and that just payment should be made.Nehemiah on every occasion looked up to God, and committedhimself and all his affairs to Him. It pleased him to think thathe had been of use to revive and support religion in hiscountry. He here refers to God, not in pride, but with a humbleappeal concerning his honest intention in what he had done. Heprays, "Remember me;" not, Reward me. "Wipe not out my gooddeeds;" not, Publish them, or record them. Yet he was rewarded,and his good deeds recorded. God does more than we are able toask. 15-22 The keeping holy the Lord's day forms an important objectfor their attention who would promote true godliness. Religionnever prospers while sabbaths are trodden under foot. No wonderthere was a general decay of religion, and corruption of mannersamong the Jews, when they forsook the sanctuary and profaned thesabbath. Those little consider what an evil they do, who profanethe sabbath. We must answer for the sins others are led tocommit by our example. Nehemiah charges it on them as an evilthing, for so it is, proceeding from contempt of God and our ownsouls. He shows that sabbath-breaking was one of the sins forwhich God had brought judgments upon them; and if they did nottake warning, but returned to the same sins again, they had toexpect further judgments. The courage, zeal, and prudence ofNehemiah in this matter, are recorded for us to do likewise; andwe have reason to think, that the cure he wrought was lasting.He felt and confessed himself a sinner, who could demand nothingfrom God as justice, when he thus cried unto him for mercy. 23-31 If either parent be ungodly, corrupt nature will inclinethe children to take after that one; which is a strong reasonwhy Christians should not be unequally yoked. In the educationof children, great care should be taken about the government oftheir tongues; that they learn not the language of Ashdod, noimpious or impure talk, no corrupt communication. Nehemiahshowed the evil of these marriages. Some, more obstinate thanthe rest, he smote, that is, ordered them to be beaten by theofficers according to the law, #De 25:2,3|. Here are Nehemiah'sprayers on this occasion He prays, "Remember them, O my God."Lord, convince and convert them; put them in mind of what theyshould be and do. The best services to the public have beenforgotten by those for whom they were done, therefore Nehemiahrefers himself to God, to recompense him. This may well be thesummary of our petitions; we need no more to make us happy thanthis; Remember me, O my God, for good. We may humbly hope thatthe Lord will remember us and our services, although, afterlives of unwearied activity and usefulness, we shall still seecause to abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes, and tocry out with Nehemiah, Spare me, O my God, according to thegreatness of they mercy
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