Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God that He will not allow us to engage in sinful activities without a consequence. Praise God when he brings what may appear as a ‘disaster' into our lives because of our sin, and so prevents us from descending into an ever-increasing destructive rebellion against Him.
- Consider a specific sin in your life, whether of the tongue, of the eye, or of the hand, and confess it.
Doctrine for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 51 – What is forbidden in the second commandment?
Answer – The second commandment forbids the worship of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his Word.
Comment – Our worship of God is to be as He has commanded in His Word. We are not at liberty to worship God as we think best or as we please. It is both simple and clear, and it is for our good, so as to guard us against the inclinations of our deceptive hearts.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Verse to memorise.
James 1:17 – "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 13:4-9.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
13:4-9 - Tobiah in the Temple
There are four things mentioned in particular that show the backsliding of the people: the presence of Tobiah in the courts of the Temple; the failure to provide adequately for the Levites; the desecration of the Sabbath; and the return to mixed marriages. When Nehemiah came back to Jerusalem, he saw something that must have both grieved and angered him. He found that the priest Eliashib had entered into an agreement with one of the men who had been at the forefront of the opposition to the wall rebuilding. Not only was Tobiah personally a proven enemy of the people of God, but he was also an Ammonite, a part of the 'mixed multitude’ put out of the temple years before. In chapter 6 Tobiah was exerting his influence from without, and maintaining contact with some of the nobles within by letter. But now he was right inside! It is not at all surprising that Nehemiah was upset!
a. The temple rooms that Tobiah was occupying were supposed to be used for the storage of tithes and offerings for the priests and for the service of God's sanctuary. It was unthinkable that rooms set apart for a holy purpose should be used by a pagan opponent of the work of God.
b. Eliashib had failed as the spiritual leader of the people and had neglected to maintain the purity of the house of God. He had not recognised the danger of having an alliance with such a man. Possibly Eliashib thought the regulations for 'separation' and 'no mixing' were far too strict and uncharitable, but we ignore God's commands at our peril!
Nehemiah was not just grieved but determined to take radical measures to solve the problem: He threw Tobiah and all his possessions out of the temple; and he restored the temple rooms to their proper function. No doubt some would see his action as being harsh, but like the Lord Jesus when he cleansed the temple, Nehemiah had the wisdom not to confuse 'love' with 'being nice'!
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 105A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God that He does intervene in the life of the Church when drift and backsliding are taking place. It is a clear sign of His love for the Bride. Pray that God would not be slow to do such a work in our lives and in the church when it is necessary.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC