Nehemiah 13 – Devotional

Nehemiah 13 – Devotional

Posted on 31 May 2024

When the people heard the reading of the Law, after the building of the wall of Jerusalem was completed, they willingly agreed to a covenant (or, an agreement) “to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord and his rules and his statues.” Specifically noted were the marriage of their children, observing the Sabbath, giving their tithes and first fruits, and their religious obligations: “We will not neglect the house of our God.”

The people willingly and cheerfully fulfilled their agreement, initially. However, when Nehemiah had to temporarily leave Jerusalem to return to Susa, the observance of the covenant began to falter. By the time of his return to Jerusalem, probably a few years later, Nehemiah found that marriage laws were being flouted, the Sabbath ignored, the tithes and first fruits were not given and “the house of God forsaken.” One key reason was probably because “the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field.” Without the presence of Levites in Jerusalem, there was no more reading and teaching of the Law. Without the presence of the singers, there was no more corporate worship of God. The priests, who remained in Jerusalem, continued their tasks of ensuring that the stipulated sacrifices were done. However, this was now merely the observance of an empty religious ritual, devoid of its teaching, devoid of its worship. While the external form of their faith could be seen, its essence and life were missing. 

The experience of the people during Nehemiah’s absence highlights the crucial need to ensure the sustainability and continued vitality of our faith. There needs to be regular reading and teaching of the scriptures. There needs to be regular worship of God. At a personal level, developing a habit of reading and reflecting on a portion of scripture each day has been a helpful practice for many Christians. What can you do this year to ensure the sustainability and vitality of your faith?

Written by Mr. Ajit Hazra


For Personal Reflection or Group Discussion

  1. Why is it so important to act on the word of God? How has the word of God helped in your decision-making?

  2. ⁠Why did the nation of Israel fall into complacency? What are the dangers, and how can we learn from them?

  3. What should we do to avoid falling into the danger of complacency? Why is it so crucial for holy living?


Preacher: Rev Tay Kay Leong
Series: Band Together
Topic: Guarding against Complacency as We Band Together
Verses: Nehemiah 13: 1 – 31

The sermon will be livestreamed at the 10am English Service on Sunday, 2 June 2024.

Read the other devotionals in our Nehemiah sermon series.