Passage: Nehemiah 13:15~31  

Key verse: 22

The Israelites quickly returned to a lawless lifestyle. Nehemiah reinforced the Sabbath law by banning people from buying and selling on the Sabbath and by keeping the gates closed and guarded on the Sabbath so that foreign merchants would not enter the city for business (19). Nehemiah ordered the Levites to purify themselves first and guard the gates (22). Spiritual leaders must be awake and alert to fight against the influence of the world.

Mixed marriage and the cultural and spiritual influence the foreign mothers had on the children (24) was another issue Nehemiah severely delt with (25). Even the high priest had his grandson marry a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite, who opposed the work of God (2:19). Nehemiah drove him out of his position (28).

Nehemiah as a leader built a new system to uphold spiritual authority. The restoration of God's people began with rebuilding the temple and the wall. They read the Law and had a new decision to obey his commands. However, the Israelites’ failure to sustain their decision shows that the restoration of people can only be achieved from a personal level when each one works to keep their heart pure and honor God.

Prayer: Father, I have a desire to be right before you, but I am too weak to keep up. Please give me a pure heart and restore my life in you.

One Word: Purify yourself and guard the gates.