Lordís Day Evening Meditations -
November 30, 2003
Further Experiences of the Remnant
We have seen how there was one tribe that was specially
chosen for the service of the Lord, the tribe of Levi. From this
tribe there was a family of priests, and there were Levites, singers,
and porters. The singers were those whose occupation and responsibility
was to praise the Lord. We should all have a concern about the
Lord receiving praise. The first reason is that He is worthy.
The new song in Rev. 5:9 begins, "Thou art worthy."
Yes, in a coming day He will have full praise. Meanwhile,
what we do give is very little compared to what He is worthy to
receive. But then there is another reason why He should be getting
continual praise from us. Weíll see this illustrated in one of
the families of the singers.
"And the sons of the singers gathered
themselves together." Neh. 12:28. There were three
families of "singers" descended from the three
men whom King David had chosen many years before. Those three
were Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. Beginning during the reign of
David, and afterward, these man, and their descendants, were "set
over the service of song in the house of the Lord."
1 Chron. 6:31. I believe that if you had come within hearing distance
of the house of God, when things were in order, you would have
heard hymns of praise going up to the Lord, at all hours of the
day and night. In Nehemiah, when "the sons of the singers"
are mentioned, I believe that all three families were represented.
I want to refer to the family of Heman.
In 1 Chronicles 6:33 - 38 you have his genealogy.
(If you wonder what is the value of reading these long lists of
names, you will find that sometimes they reveal some interesting
connections.) Heman was "the son of Joel, the son of
Shemuel." Shemuel is Samuel. So firstly, Heman was
Samuelís grandson - quite a remarkable fact in itself, when we
remember the excellent record that Samuel has in the Scripture.
But then the genealogy continues until we come to find that Heman,
Samuel, etc. were all descended from Korah. v. 37. Korah was the
Levite who, along with Dathan and Abiram, and 250 princes of Israel,
led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. You can read that story
in Numbers 16. God treated this rebellion with the seriousness
that it deserved, for it was against (in type) Godís King and
Godís Priest which is Christ. The judgment was that "the
earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses,
and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods."
From this it would seem that all of Korahís family
perished with him, but in Numbers 26:11 we read, "Notwithstanding
the children of Korah died not." Do you see how those
children were the objects of a special and wonderful deliverance
from a judgment that would otherwise have come on them because
of their father? All of that family line, to Samuel and Heman,
and down to the "sons of the singers" were
the objects of a wonderful deliverance by the grace of God. Didnít
they have reason to sing praises? And what about ourselves? Didnít
our first father rebel against God in the garden and bring down
on himself and his descendants a severe judgment? But havenít
we experienced an even greater deliverance than the children of
Korah did? Do we not have reason to sing and to praise the Lord
for the wonderful deliverance that He has granted us in being
saved by His grace? He is worthy of praise for all that He is
in Himself, and He is also worthy because of the wonderful salvation
that He has given.
Nehemiah 13:1 - 3 is a continuation of what we
have seen previously where they read in the Book of Moses, making
discoveries of what was the will of God. This time they were reading
in Deuteronomy 23, and they found there what God thought of the
Ammonites and the Moabites and their treatment of His people.
The result was that "they separated from Israel all the
mixed multitude." We have been seeing this matter of
"separation" all the way through the books of Ezra
and Nehemiah. "Such as had separated themselves Ö from
the filthiness of the heathen of the land." Ezra 6:21.
"The people Ö have not separated themselves from the
people of the lands," therefore "separate
yourselves from the people of the land and from the strange wives."
Ezra 9:1, 10:11. "And the seed of Israel separated themselves
from all strangers." Neh. 9:2. You see, over and over,
they fell back into mixing with the heathen, and then they had
to separate once again.
For Israel, this was a physical thing - a literal
division between the Israelites and the other nations around.
There is a principle in this for believers today, as to being
separate from the world, but it has to be understood correctly.
James speaks very faithfully when he says that "the friendship
of the world is enmity with God." James 4:4. Our best
and perfect example of being separate from the world is the Lord
Himself. In Matthew 11 we have the Lord and John the Baptist.
John the Baptist maintained rigid separation according to Old
Testament requirements and they said, "He hath a devil."
The Lord Jesus came showing love and grace to sinners, and they
said, "Behold Ö a friend of publicans and sinners."
In Luke 15:2 the Pharisees found fault with the Lord, saying,
"This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them."
The Lord explains this clearly in John 17. He was
in the world but He was not of the world. He was
totally separate in heart from all that "the world"
is in its sin and departure from God, though He was present and
available to the lost and needy sinners that were around Him on
every side. Now He has left us in the same position: "They
are not of the world, even as I am not of the world Öeven
so have I also sent them into the world." John
17:14 - 18. In heart we are to be totally separate, unto the Lord,
from all the evil of this corrupt world, yet we are left here,
according to His will, to represent Him in His holy grace and
love to the lost. We must not be hermits, retiring into isolation,
nor must we be Pharisees with their "holier than thou"
attitude. May we have hearts patterned after the heart of our
Eliashib (v. 4) was the grandson of Jeshua in Ezra
1 - 6. It is sad to see that although Jeshua has a record of being
a faithful man, his grandson here was a traitor to God and His
people. Do any of you young people here have grandparents who
were faithful to the Lord? What are you going to do, follow in
their footsteps, or be traitors like Eliashib was? Jeshua had
refused to allow the enemy to even participate in the building
of the temple (Ezra 4:3); some years later his grandson not only
brought an enemy leader into the courts of the house of God but
gave him a "great chamber" there for a home!
No wonder Nehemiah was upset!
You see, when Nehemiah came to Jerusalem originally,
it was for a set time. Neh. 2:6. When that time (12 years) was
up he had to report back to the King at Babylon. So he was away
from Jerusalem for a time, and then he obtained permission to
return. When he arrived back, this is what he found - Tobiah,
an Ammonite, an enemy, living in "a chamber in the courts
of the house of God." He soon corrected that evil.
I can just imagine, if you had stood outside, you would have seen
Tobiahís belongings come flying out the open door. v. 8. Nehemiah
had the authority and the faithfulness to take this drastic measure
to cleanse that part of Godís house. For us the principle is,
"We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
Ö the rulers of the darkness of this world, etc." Eph.
6:12. The powers of evil are not to be allowed access into the
house of God today.
However, when Nehemiah returned from having reported
back to Babylon, this was not the only thing that he found had
gone wrong during his absence. The promises of chapter 10 had
been forgotten and the people had fallen back into their old ways.
The test of reality is not a high show of zeal, but a steady going
on with the Lord, day after day. "They shall walk and
not faint." Only by His grace and help can we do that.