As many times as I’ve read Nehemiah I haven’t thought on this one before.  The Levites were chosen to give service in the temple of the Lord (chosen because of radical obedience earlier in Israel’s history).  They lived on support.  The people paid tithes of produce, income, goods, etc… and that’s how they lived.  When Israel began to drift from the Lord, whose income do you think got cut?  If you are in missions, you know.

Many of the Levites who were called by God to work as priests and singers in the temple returned to their fields in order to survive.  No longer were they available to do the Lord’s work.  Enter Nehemiah:

“I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and singers responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields.  So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?” …All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and oil into the storerooms.”

I can tell you that there would be a lot more folks on the mission field if this was understood.