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11. Dealing with Broken Vows
Neh. 13


As we come to the end of the Book of Nehemiah, we have learned several things:

· Nehemiah, the King’s cupbearer, learned that his home city, Jerusalem was still in ruins. The wall of protection around the city was down.

· God put a vision in his heart…He says, “God put it in my heart to rebuild the wall.

· He gets permission and provisions from the King to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall…with the understanding that when the wall is completed, he will come back to the King to serve him again.

· In 52 days the wall is complete. That’s in Neh.6

In Neh. 12 Nehemiah dedicated the wall

· What goes on between chapters 6 and 12? Two things Re-population of the city and Revival in the city.

Now it is time to dedicate the wall. Notice Neh. 12:27

· The word “dedication” has two meanings in scripture: (1) you celebrate because of the completion of something; (2). you celebrate because of the beginning of a new thing- that’s the meaning here.

· Notice how they celebrated at this dedication:

· In all, they did they did it with singing- playing instruments- Thanksgiving.

A. Purification 12:30

· They purified the Priest- the people- the place

· We are not told how they purified these, but if they followed the usual pattern there was ceremonial washing and sacrifice

· But there was purification before celebration .

B. Procession 12:31, 38

-Note: They were “On the wall” in two groups- one lead by Ezra; the other by Nehemiah.

- Each had with them a choir- the Priest and the lay people. You can almost see them as they hold hands (as we do in holding hands and praying) and give thanks to God for the wall and for His allowing them to be a part of the building of the wall.

C. Proclamation 12:43-44

- They proclaimed Joy! Six times in these two verses the words joy, rejoiced or rejoice are found.

- Read these verses and you will find singing, playing instruments, giving of Peace offering, which was most likely a meal offering or fellowship meal for all the people, and giving!

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- Notice an interesting phrase at the end of v.43- “So that the Joy of Jerusalem was

HEARD afar off”

-Not the singing was heard afar off; the joy was heard afar off.

- How do you hear Joy?

- Sometimes we hear singing and don’t hear joy. Sometimes the choir looks so sad. No one smiling. They act like they don’t really enjoy singing.

- A man from another country came to the U.S.A. to study Christianity. He concluded, “These Christians will have to look more redeemed before I can ever become a believer.”

- How do you get Joy- Jesus and you with nothing between!

- With their Thanksgiving came their Thanks-living.

After this celebration Nehemiah went back to Persia to serve the King

· Twelve years later Nehemiah comes back to Jerusalem…And while the Cat was away, did the mice ever play.

· You will remember that in Neh.10 the people made a covenant with God and said that they would keep their vow forever- In writing!

· Now, just 12 years later they had broken every vow they made to God.

Listen to Ecc. 5:4-5

· We are like them. How often we have made vows to God- only to break them.

I. They Forgot Their Vow of Separation 13:1-7

- In order to accommodate Tobiah, they had moved the articles of the house of God from their rightful place and put idols in the temple courts.

- Notice: 13:8-9 reminds you of when Jesus cleaned the temple.

II. They Forgot Their Vow of Support 13:10-12

· They failed to tithe so the Levites had to abandon their responsibilities in the house of God and perform field labor in order to survive.

III. They Forgot Their Vow about the Sabbath 13:15-21

· V. 21- Lay hands on them….was not ordaining them!!

IV. They Forgot Their Vow about Their Spouses 13:23-28

Nehemiah put things right again, but he took a lot of heat.

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· Four times he prayed in this Chapter- after he made each thing right again-

13:14,22,29,31C

Notice 13:30-31

· Each time Nehemiah had to get rid of some things so they could experience the blessings of God.

A man and his wife were starting a Bible-study group in their home. Their neighbor was a Catholic and they tried to get her to attend. She would not. After the first meeting the neighbor asked how things went. The man said, “It was wonderful. We had a full house the first week, we had 32 people. God blessed so I can’t wait until next week.” The next week the neighbor did not attend, but asked the next day how it went. It was great...full house- had 45 here and God’s blessing was so real.” Next week the same- man said, “WE had a full house 52 here” Neighbor said, “You said you had a full house with 32- then 45 now 52” The man said, “We put our furniture in the yard to make room.” In order to get more of God’s blessings in, you must throw some things away.