As I finished reading through the book of Nehemiah yesterday with She Reads Truth, it's a bit discouraging that the children of Israel who were under captivity to Babylon due to their disloyalty to God and His ways, who had worked so hard to restore the temple and rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, were so quick to return to their old ways of compromise and neglect of the things of God.
It's especially disconcerting to read in verse 4 that Eliashib, the priest, had given Tobiah a room in the temple of God. Tobiah had fought against, intimidated, and discouraged Israel in their efforts to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. He was also an Ammonite and God had expressly forbidden the Israelites to allow Ammonites into their assembly. Yet, in the very room that should be used to store articles of worship, the priest had allowed Tobiah to take up residence.
I can definitely understand Nehemiah's righteous anger when he discovers what Eliashib had done, and yet, I've done the same thing.
In the New Testament God's Spirit lives within His people. We are His temple. As God's temple, I should be a house of worship that is clean and pure and consecrated for His glory. And yet, I too have let the enemy set up residence in my temple. The very same enemy that fights against me, and tries to intimidate me and discourages me and wants me to quit God's assignment in my life! Yes, I've opened wide the door to unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, resentment, judgmental attitudes, faultfinding and said, "Come on in and make yourself at home!" I've entertained these guests like bosom friends instead of barring the door to them like God clearly has instructed me to. I've sat with them and eaten with them and had long and lengthy conversations about how used and abused I've been by others and how these sinful attitudes have a legitimate right to hang around in me. Yet, in the beginning God made clear the way to deal with the enemy when he comes knocking at the door, "Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." In other words, pull a Nehemiah. He booted Tobiah right on out of the temple and threw his belongings right on out with him. Then he cleaned and purified that room and filled it back on up with the instruments for worship.
I know now what I need to do. I must throw these adversarial attitudes out of my mind and heart, out of my soul and spirit, out of my temple. No matter how justified I think I am to hold on to my offense, I must get rid of every bit of their slimy stuff. Then I must cleanse the room that I allowed them to occupy. Thank God that Jesus will help me with that. Next, I need to fill that room right on up with the love of God and hang a sign on the door..."NO ENEMIES ALLOWED!"
I want to be a clean, pure and free temple of worship for God. I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned from Nehemiah on what to do to get there.
Also happily linking up with Lisha Epperson.