July 26

Nehemiah 12-13, Psalm 52

Most people don't realize that after almost 2500 years the Hippocratic Oath (the oath that all doctors pledge upon graduating medical school) was changed.  Among other parts one line in the original version says: "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortions.  With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art."  In the modern version (1960's) this similar portion reads: "Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death.  If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks.  But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.  Above all, I must not play at God."  Though that last line in the new version is included that is just what doctors now play at.  Most don't realize that every two years a physician must renew their license.  Besides doing the necessary continuing medical education requirements and paying, until 4 years ago that was all that was required.  Since then, every physician in our state is required every 2 years to take a short course and answer questions teaching end of life care which in essence teaches how to "ethically" facilitate and hasten the death of those who are terminally ill.  Concerning abortion, the gestational ages where it is now allowed and the indications are ever expanding.  Such is the world of modern relativism, where absolute truth no longer reigns.

We see the amazing example in the final chapter of Nehemiah of exactly the opposite.  After being away a short time to serve the king, Nehemiah finds evil creeping back into the city of Jerusalem and he faces it with determination and uncompromising truth.  When he saw that one of the rooms of the Temple was given to the pagan enemy, Tobiah, we read in Neh 13:8, "And it grieved me bitterly; therefore I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room."  When he realized that the tithing had stopped and the Levites were no longer supported, we read in Neh 13:11, "So I contended with the rulers, and said, "Why is the house of God forsaken?"  And I gathered them together and set them in their place."  When he realized that the Sabbath was no longer being observed, we see in Neh 13:17-19, "Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, "What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day?"  Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all disaster on us and on this city?  Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.  So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and I charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath.  Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day."  When he realized that the people began to intermarry again, we read in Neh.13:25, "So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, "You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves."

Oh, that we would have this same level of conviction in us today.  We live in a society of moral relativism where every sin is tolerated and not confronted.  This speaks of both the sin in society and the sin in our personal lives.  Nehemiah did not flirt with sin, he confronted it, did not care who it offended knowing that he was on the side of God.  Our society cares too much about being liked or offending others rather than speaking out on behalf of God.  Whether it be abortion, homosexuality, transgender, premarital sex, pornography etc; God has clearly spoken about these topics, yet there are individuals in God's church and entire denominations which embrace these sins.  We should never forget that God loves the sinner, but hates the sin when confronting these issues.  But how much better would our world be if Christians began to boldly speak out against these issues like Nehemiah did.  The question is who do we fear, God or man.  In Matthew 10:28, Jesus said, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster