***We will go back to the NT book of Hebrews tomorrow***
Vs. 6-7, “But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God.” During the time between chapter 12 and 13…Nehemiah returned to Persia. But while he was gone, some disaapointing events transpired. God’s people were to be seperated from the foreigners, but they allowed the negative influences of the enemy to infiltrate their ranks. Also, the Eliashib, the high priest was allowing Tobiah (He was one of the men who had tried to keep the wall from being rebulit) to live in one of the rooms of the temple. Another concern were the people’s disobedience to the Sabbath by working and gaining profit on the day of rest. Nehemiah would also have to contend with the marrying of foreigners…he took swift action and no one was above the law.
Regarding application…Supporting Ministry. Vs. 10, “I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and singers responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields.” The Levites who served in the temple were not being supported enough, therefore they had to work in the fields. Brothers & Sisters, this is a nice wake up call for all of us…no matter what age you may be. The people had promised to support the ministry of the temple, but failed in doing so. Tithing and giving can be a litmus test to our spirituallity. When we are walking with the Lord, we give generously to His ministry. Tithing biblically is giving 10%…Abraham gave a tenth to Melchizedek, Jacob vowed 10% to God, etc. In the New Testament, tithing is mentioned eight times, but all of those times refer to the Old Testament or the Jewish practices of that time. While we are not commanded to tithe, the New Testament does exhort us to give generously (I Cor. 16:1-3, II Cor. 8-9).
Just like in Old Testament times, God’s people and ministry needed to be supported…and that hasn’t changed to this day. I myself adhere to giving 10% gross (before taxes). Financially, it is really hard to give above that at this time. But we are to give with joy and do our part in supporting the local churches and beyond. Praise God if we can give above and beyond that. All that we have doesn’t belong to us anyways, so why not give both monetarily and serving?