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Separate from the Unholy

Rev. Enoch Thompson | January 12, 2024 | Nehemiah 13:1-3


¹ On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God, ² because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. Nehemiah 13:1-2 (NIV)



From a religious mindset, we love to think and talk that the God of love loves all people equally, and that we should not make distinctions in our interactions with people. It is very difficult to say what the reflection for today is leading us to, but it is necessary to pay attention to the message for today. God, the God of love does not endorse people who have set themselves on violating His Word and His will and shows His disapproval of such people in stern instruction towards them. For our sanity and our sanctity, we must separate from certain individuals and groupings, and not play to the trap of political correctness.


The Ammonites and the Moabites had been unnecessarily cruel to the Israelites at the time of their re-entry into the Promised Land after their enslavement in Egypt They did not offer the returning Israelites the common cultural courtesy of giving them food and water.  Worst still they desired the extermination of the group and hired the services of Balaam, a sorcerer, to curse them and bring about their end by evil power. The interesting and cinematographic record of this interaction of Israel and Moab with the Balaam-plot can be read in Numbers Chapters 22 and 23. Because of this God made the law in our text in Deut 23:3-5. Years later the Israelites rediscovered this law, and by the grace of God chose to act upon it.


The Christian calling is a call to holiness, holiness is a separation to God from that which is evil, and which contaminates. God expects us to hate what He hates and to love what He loves. God expects us to associate with people, mindsets and attitudes that are consistent with His Word and will and led by His Spirit and His Word (as with the Israelites in our text), we must choose the God-way.



Reflect on the following couple of passages and ask God to show you people, situations, groups and ideologies you must separate from:

2 Cor 6:14-16 (NIV)

¹⁵Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? ¹⁵What harmony is there between Christ and Belial b? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? ¹⁶What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. NIV


1 Cor 5:9-11 (NIV)

⁹ I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— ¹⁰ not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. ¹¹ But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.



Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for the lines you draw for my associations and disassociations. May I discover by your Word and by your Spirit the individuals and situations that I need to move away from. May I have the discernment of opportunities to share your love with them without getting contaminated by them. Help me Lord, to retain my sanity and my sanctity as I follow your leading.

For Jesus’ dear Name’s sake, Amen.





DAILY word study: READ ALOUD

 In Nehemiah 13:1-2, the phrase "read aloud" is translated from the Hebrew word "qārā’" (קָרָא). This Hebrew verb Qārā’ (קָרָא) is often used for the action of calling, proclaiming, or reading. Its usage varies based on context, but it consistently involves a vocal expression. In the context of Nehemiah 13:1-2, the use of qārā’ implies a public, vocal proclamation. The act involves not only reading silently but also proclaiming the content audibly, ensuring that the message reaches the ears of the listeners.

The verb Qārā’ is frequently associated with covenantal activities in the Old Testament. The public reading of the Law, as seen in Nehemiah, is an act of covenant renewal. The people are collectively hearing and affirming their commitment to God's covenant. This verb emphasizes the auditory dimension of communication. It's not just about perusing the text; it's about hearing the words spoken aloud. This auditory engagement adds a layer of communal participation and understanding. Considering the historical context, Ezra the scribe was instrumental in bringing the Law before the people (Nehemiah 8:1-8). The continuity of this practice in Nehemiah 13 suggests the enduring impact of Ezra's emphasis on the public reading of Scripture. The repetition of qārā’ in Nehemiah underscores the continuity of a sacred tradition. The intentional use of this term emphasizes the ongoing nature of reading aloud, connecting past practices with the present. Reflections Considering the significance of reading aloud in the biblical narrative, how can we, in our modern context, emphasize the importance of engaging with Scripture collectively? In what ways does the auditory experience of God's Word contribute to a deeper understanding and internalization of its truths?

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