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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - May 28, 2007
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May 28, 2007

Nehemiah 10-11
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Nehemiah
Chapter 10
  1. Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah, the Tirshatha, the son of Hachaliah, and Zidkijah,
  2. Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,
  3. Pashur, Amariah, Malchijah,
  4. Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,
  5. Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,
  6. Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,
  7. Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,
  8. Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah: these were the priests.
  9. And the Levites: both Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel;
  10. And their brethren, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,
  11. Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah,
  12. Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,
  13. Hodijah, Bani, Beninu.
  14. The chief of the people; Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zatthu, Bani,
  15. Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,
  16. Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,
  17. Ater, Hizkijah, Azzur,
  18. Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai,
  19. Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,
  20. Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,
  21. Meshezabeel, Zadok, Jaddua,
  22. Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,
  23. Hoshea, Hananiah, Hashub,
  24. Hallohesh, Pileha, Shobek,
  25. Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,
  26. And Ahijah, Hanan, Anan,
  27. Malluch, Harim, Baanah.
  28. And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;
  29. They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;
  30. And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons:
  31. And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.
  32. Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God;
  33. For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.
  34. And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law:
  35. And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD:
  36. Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:
  37. And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
  38. And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.
  39. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.


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Nehemiah
Chapter 11
  1. And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities.
  2. And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.
  3. Now these are the chief of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem: but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession in their cities, to wit, Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants.
  4. And at Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah; Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalaleel, of the children of Perez;
  5. And Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Colhozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni.
  6. All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men.
  7. And these are the sons of Benjamin; Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jesaiah.
  8. And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight.
  9. And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city.
  10. Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin.
  11. Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the ruler of the house of God.
  12. And their brethren that did the work of the house were eight hundred twenty and two: and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchiah,
  13. And his brethren, chief of the fathers, two hundred forty and two: and Amashai the son of Azareel, the son of Ahasai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer,
  14. And their brethren, mighty men of valour, an hundred twenty and eight: and their overseer was Zabdiel, the son of one of the great men.
  15. Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;
  16. And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God.
  17. And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.
  18. All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four.
  19. Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two.
  20. And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance.
  21. But the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinims.
  22. The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers were over the business of the house of God.
  23. For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.
  24. And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabeel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king's hand in all matters concerning the people.
  25. And for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjath-arba, and in the villages thereof, and at Dibon, and in the villages thereof, and at Jekabzeel, and in the villages thereof,
  26. And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Beth-phelet,
  27. And at Hazar-shual, and at Beer-sheba, and in the villages thereof,
  28. And at Ziklag, and at Mekonah, and in the villages thereof,
  29. And at En-rimmon, and at Zareah, and at Jarmuth,
  30. Zanoah, Adullam, and in their villages, at Lachish, and the fields thereof, at Azekah, and in the villages thereof. And they dwelt from Beer-sheba unto the valley of Hinnom.
  31. The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash, and Aija, and Bethel, and in their villages,
  32. And at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,
  33. Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim,
  34. Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat,
  35. Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.
  36. And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin.


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Thought for the day:
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 Nehemiah 10:28-31 gives us some insight into the principle of personal separation. This all began back in Nehemiah 9:2, where the Bible records,

"And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their father."
Israel determined that they were going to remain personally separated from the heathen that surrounded them. They confessed their sins, and admitted that past generations had failed to be obedient to the Lord in this respect. At the conclusion of chapter 9 they made a covenant between themselves and before God that they would no longer intermarry with, and thus be influenced by, the Canaanites. In 10:28 we find that all the people joined with their leaders in adopting this covenant. There are a few aspects of this covenant of separation that should be noted.

 First of all, verse 28 tells us that the people "separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God." Separation in the Scriptures is always a double-edged sword. While many focus only on separation from sin, which is, of course, the necessary first step, the second step is that we must separate ourselves unto God. By way of illustration, when a man gets married, he not only chooses to separate from all other eligible females, but he also chooses to become one flesh with his wife. Many men have been "faithful" to their wives, but not developed the relationship with them that they should have. In the same way, God wants us to choose Him and turn our backs on all that would vie for our attention or rob Him of our constant commitment. Yet He also wants us to be constantly committed - thinking about Him, communicating with Him, serving Him. Many Christians today are still playing the roll of being spiritual "adulterers and adulteresses" (James 4:4), and have never separated themselves from the world at all. Yet there is also a large group of believers who no longer are involved in "worldly" activities, but they aren't serving God either. They are moral people, but they aren't faithful to church, nor involved in evangelism, nor committed to prayer and Bible study. They are content to be "separated from the people of the lands" without being separated "unto the law of God". Obviously, this is not what God intended.

 A second aspect of separation that I see mentioned here is that the Jews were going to choose to remain separated from the heathen in spite of how much contact they would have with them. God did not instruct them to move into a monastery so that they never saw a non-Jew again. They were going to have to live with these people, since they had not driven them out of the land centuries before, and thus they were going to have to practice separation from people that they were going to be working with and having commerce with. It is relatively easy to practice personal separation when you are in your own Christian home, or at church, or in a spiritually-minded Christian school, or in Bible college. In those places you are surrounded by people who, for the most part, believe like you do and live like you do. Anyone can practice Biblical holiness in that environment. The problem comes when that person leaves for work in the morning, or graduates from school, or moves out on his own. Now the heathen are right next to us, and we must determine that we will not allow them to impact us. It is easy not to "intermarry" when there isn't anyone to "intermarry" with. While I believe that we should shelter ourselves, and particularly our children, as much as is possible, the reality is that if we are going to be salt and light in an ungodly world, we have to go out and make contact with it. When that contact comes, who is going to be influencing whom?

 The third aspect of separation that I see mentioned here is the fact that we must remain separated no matter how much pressure is put on us. If intermarriage was going to take place, then that meant that a boy from a Jewish family desired to get married, or someone from a non-Jewish family desired a Jewish girl. Either way, pressure was being applied to the father, who had to say "No." In verse 31 it speaks of not purchasing food that was being sold on the Sabbath day. The food was good, the Jew might have been hungry, and the salesman may have been persuasive, but the answer had to be "No." The world will attempt to apply any pressure that it can in order to break the believer. We must not allow that to happen.

 Separation is never easy. If it were, everyone would do it. However, it is completely Scriptural, and must be done regardless of the pressures involved. Forsaking the world and cleaving unto Christ is the only way to please the Lord

Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery

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