Nehemiah 13:1-31 Right Anger!


The second law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system, things move toward the maximum state of entropy, or disorder.

A)That physical law has a parallel in the spiritual realm:


B)Even among God’s people, unless we are constantly fighting against it, things tend toward the maximum state of spiritual entropy.


C)We live in a spiritually and morally permissive society.


D)Unless we constantly wage war against the flesh, we tend to become more and more like the spiritual degeneracy that surrounds us.


Tonight we come to the final Chapter in the book of Nehemiah.

A) Recall What have we seen in the last couple of Chapters? –


B) In Chapter 10 we saw the people re-establish their commitments to the Lord


Promised not the inter marry ! { other nations

They Promised to not do Business on the Sabbath –

They promised to give their first fruits to support  the work of God  

And they promised to not Neglect the house of God

C) That was Chapter 10 – In Chapter 11 – they repopulate the city

1) And then in Chapter 12 they Dedicate the wall – Huge Celebration with singing and worship and Rejoicing - 


D) I wish the book ended right there ! Great Climax !

Nice happy ending to a great story

1)But unfortunately it doesn’t end there


Been said – it is not how high you jump – but rather how straight you walk when you come down – that is what matters

A)What we find in Ch. 13 is that the people are not walking straight at all !


B)Every Promise that they made to the Lord they have broken.


C) Now it seems that during this time that Ezra the Spiritual leader has died v.13 Zadok is called the Scribe


D)And Nehemiah has returned to his post there in Babylon next to the King –

1)Commentators argue over the time gap some say 2yrs have elapsed others say 10 yrs


E)But needless to say that without the spiritual leadership of Ezra & Neh – the pp don’t do well.

1)Ch. 13 gives the account of what occurs when Neh  returns to Jerusalem & sees the problems Rd v.1-7

1st Problem: Tobiah is in the temple!

A) Remember Tobiah – He was one of Nehemiah’s main enemies – Bat Cave Joker / Osama Bin Laden white house


B) When Nehemiah comes back, he sees that Eliashib the priest had entered into agreements with Tobiah.


C) This cozy alliance led to an invitation for Tobiah to actually move into the temple itself.

1) To make room for him the high priest took the storerooms that was set apart for the grain, oil and incense & gave them to Tobiah to live in.


D) So there were two wrongs involved. An Ammonite and his family were actually living in the temple of God, contrary to the Law of Moses;


E) And second, in order to permit that they had deliberately defraud the Levites of their rights of storage.



This story is a good illustration of how the enemy works

A) First he wants to form an alliance – a friendship – he wants you to let down your guard – get comfortable with him


B) Then he wants to occupy a place in your life that was intended for God and God alone-

C) The enemy was Living in the temple – Your body is called the temple of the HS –

1) What Tobiah has wormed his way into the center of your life and comfortably sits there enthroned where the Lord Jesus ought to be ?


D) What Stuff is cluttering up the temple that the HS ought to fill in your heart –



Notice how Nehemiah dealt with this!  Rd v.8-9

8 And it grieved me bitterly; therefore I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room.9 Then I commanded them to cleanse the rooms; and I brought back into them the articles of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.


Now picture this scene – someone says – did you hear Nehemiah is back – no where is he – temple

A)Get to the temple and all this furniture is flying out of it!  Duck Chair / Silverware – lamp


B) Does this remind you of anything?


C)Jesus did this twice in his ministry once at the beginning and again at the end

1)Cleansed the temple – drove out the money Changers {Whip turning over tables


D)Jesus we don’t often picture – someone needs to paint this one – enough – lambs & Children

Causes us to ask the Question is it ever right to get mad?  Nehemiah is angry – gets worse

A)But is this ok? – Should he be so upset – and is it ok to violate someone else’s property?


B) Ephesians  4:26 "Be angry, {PAUSE}

and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.”


C) Yes there are times when it is right to be angry – it is called righteous indignation.

1)Angry over injustice – innocence taken advantage of


D)Angry over abuse – rape – child abuse / wife abuse

1)Good anger –


God gets anger at sin! – If he didn’t – I wouldn’t want to follow Him

A)Rape murder injustice – genocide – religious manipulation – etc – if those things didn’t anger God He wouldn’t be worth worshipping


B)Does God ever get angry with believers? Yes

1)But that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love them!


C)You with your kids or spouse or friend – Still love them.


D)Paul says Be angry – Good response! Godly response – but don’t sin – don’t let sun go down

1)Nor give place to the devil

Here is what that is telling us – there is a line that we have to be careful not to cross –

A)Anger becomes sin – Start re-acting in the flesh instead of responding in the spirit.


B)And Paul exhorts don’t let anger linger – don’t let the sun go down with you still angry

1)In other words don’t let anger linger and turn to bitterness – that gives the devil a foothold


C)So there is a place for anger – there is a place for taking appropriate action

1)Someone being abused – step in –


D)But don’t turn it into a vendetta –


Now we are going to see Nehemiah do some radical things in this chapter – things that were appropriate for him to do.

A)But they are not appropriate for us to do at least not to others – might be ok to do to yourself


B)But here is what you have to remember – Israel was called to a nation set apart unto God


C)Godly nation – set apart – different from the world and nations around them

1)Higher standards – expectations – Nehemiah acted as God’s judge – Responding to sin


D)Now all the same things were happening in Babylon – but Nehemiah doesn’t do that there

1)Why – Pagan culture – God’s pp called to be in the world but not of it.


E)We might say that Nehemiah didn’t have jurisdiction to act this way in Bab or Persia


The same thing is true of us. –Even though America is a nation that was founded on Biblical principles

A)It is not a nation that has been uniquely called by God – to be His – like Israel.


B)So we are in the world – but not to be of the world

1)Our place is not to go assaulting pp who are sinning – Flat Screens – pp watching porn

2)Cutting cable lines blowing up Sat dishes


C)Or blowing up – Abortion Clinics - 

1)Against the law – don’t have jurisdiction


D)Told in the NT to obey the laws – unless they contradict the Bible – Not bowing to the image

1)Shad/ Mesh / Abednego


We live in a world of Unbelievers who are simply acting like unbelievers –

A)Jesus saw the crowds – compassion – sheep w/out a shepherd – blind leading the blind


B)Our reaction! Our response

So keep that in mind as we work thru the rest of this Chapter – See Nehemiah do some things –

A)So the first thing Neh does is get rid of Tobiah


B)what was the 2nd  Problem? -   Well They had neglected the house of God                   RD V.10-14


10 I also realized that the portions for the Levites had not been given them; for each of the Levites and the singers who did the work had gone back to his field.11 So I contended with the rulers, and said,” Why is the house of God forsaken?"


D) This was the very thing they had promised not to do – Neglect God’s house but that is exactly what they did.

v.11b And I gathered them together and set them in their place.12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the storehouse.13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouse Shelemiah the priest and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah; and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were considered faithful, and their task was to distribute to their brethren.


14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for its services!


When Nehemiah comes back he finds that the people have done the very thing that they promised not to – they neglected – the house of God

A) The Levites are out working in the fields because they were not being supported – So they were out there harvesting their food


B)Nehemiah contended with the RULERS – See were the leaders

1) Contended = to struggle / to battle : Nehemiah went to battle – over this –


Learn from this that in correcting problems it is good to face problems head on

A) But it is also good to work toward a permanent correction –


B) Anyone can point out what is wrong – But give me someone who has an idea of how to make it right


C) Nehemiah comes up with a plan to get the people back on track – giving again !


Part of the solution was appointing faithful men to watch over this task

A)Note there is a priest {Pastor} , a scribe {teacher} , a Levite {deacon} and a layman


B)All 4 represent the various aspects of the life of Israel and all four shared one quality

1)They were trustworthy men



C)Faithfulness is a quality that God admires – Paul said of those who minister in the church in

1 Corinthians 4:2  “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”


I look for 4 qualities in potential leaders

1.Teachable:  – Love Jesus - desire to learn – read study – apply practically.


2.Humble: Servants heart – not an ego not above doing the little things.


3. An Evident gift – Administration / compassion / helps


4. Faithfulness.



So Nehemiah successfully deals with problem #2

3rd Problem: Neglected the Sabbath! RD V.15-22


Nehemiah again gets radical here – Close the gates on the Sabbath – set guards –

A) Not even going to let the merchants in here


B) Profaning God’s day !


C) Imagine the merchants who were fisherman – show up with all their fish

1) Smell – going to spoil –


D) These guys decide to wait it out – temptation by the wall

1) Nehemiah says – Don’t leave I am going to lay hands on you – not talking to pray for HS baptism.


Nehemiah was getting aggressive – He was saying look – if you are going to stay here and tempt God’s people to sin I will Knock your block off

A) I will deal with you physically.


B) Sometimes that is what is needed/ be that strong !


C) Nehemiah is a type of the HS – Sometimes the HS has to get aggressive with us –

1) Get our attention -


D)I have had to get in pp’s faces at times to get their attention- Look your being a jerk! Knock it off.


4th Problem really sets Nehemiah off!

Inter marriage v. 23-24


23 In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab.24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people.


How does he deal with this one –  RD v. 25-31


A) This once again show the seriousness of the Lord’s dealing with sin


B) Nehemiah is pulling out his hair- 

1)Ezra pulled out his own – not Nehemiah


C)Now this is crazy but totally appropriate for pp living in Jerusalem at this time

1)God’s pp serious confrontation


D)You say it wasn’t very loving – Well if you were about to drink a glass of coke laced with poison

1)Would you expect me to nicely say – Hey bro – you really want to drink that –


E)You know I love you right –I am telling you don’t drink that – might kill you

1)NO you would expect me to knock it out of your hands


This sin was serious { Pagan women

A)Down fall of many a man – Samson{ Blinded

Smart guy – riddle  


B) Neh’s  example: Solomon is well taken (Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? . . . pagan women caused even him to sin).


C) If Solomon, one of the wisest and most blessed men ever, sinned with unwise and ungodly romance, do we think we are invulnerable to it?

Don’t be so stupid – Don’t marry someone who doesn’t love Jesus – thinking – Change them

A)Rarely happens


B) This was totally appropriate for Nehemiah and totally inappropriate for us.


C)Never taught by Jesus – pull out their hair


What is appropriate ?

A)Personally – Maybe you need to be so angry with yourself over your sin that you pull out your hair


B)Break that computer


Listen to the words of Jesus in Remember what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5:29-30

.29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.


A) Was Jesus being serious – Really cut off my hand and pluck out my eye! – Yes and no –

1)Yes in the sense that – if a guy can’t stop looking at pornography it would be better for him to be blind than – to go to hell


B) What Jesus is saying is there are times when we have to take radical measures in dealing with sin ! -


C) Take action. Do not allow these evil things to remain. Even if it takes painful effort to do so, end it!

1) If you have allowed your heart to be involved with something that is evil and it is painful to give it up -- you must give it up.


D) That is what Jesus is saying. Bear the pain and stand firm.

1) That is what Nehemiah does here – He runs the risk of being hated by the people – But he does what is right in the eyes of the Lord



What is appropriate corporately?

A)Confront – If really love someone you will.


B)Not tolerate but be honest – Blatant sin – not your opinion – your convictions