In today’s passage, Nehemiah explains what amounts to corruption in the house of God. The saddest part about this discovery is that the person who is responsible for this corruption is one who was supposed to protect the house of God.
Here is the description of this evil:
Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah, and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil prescribed for the Levites, musicians and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests. Nehemiah 13:4-5
How sad! Do you remember Tobiah? He was one of the leaders who opposed the rebuilding of the wall for the city of Jerusalem. So how would anyone in their right mind allow the enemy of God and his people to keep his stuff in the Temple of God?
Nehemiah explains that all these happened in his absence.
But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Nehemiah 13:6a
It was when he returned to Jerusalem that he discovered this evil.
Some time later I asked his permission and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God. Nehemiah 13:6b-7
This evil displeased Nehemiah that he took drastic actions to rid the Temple of God of this evil.
I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. Nehemiah 13:8
In addition to this he took measures to purify the Temple.
I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense. Nehemiah 13:9
We do not know what motivated Eliashib the priest to allow Tobiah to keep his stuff in the sacred house of the Lord. But as we saw recently, some allegiances in our lives can cause us to drift away from our devotion to God. When King Solomon married foreign women in violation of the law of God, they led him away from God’s ways, which his father David had followed faithfully.
- Do you have worldly friends you have kept too close that they have led you to violate the ways of God in your life?
- Do your friends or workmates understand that there is a line they cannot cross as you discuss things about God? Do they know that God and his ways are non-negotiable in your life? Do they know that these are priorities in your life?
- In what ways can we defile God’s house today? Here are a few examples:
- When we allow people to sell their own properties in the sanctuary
- When we allow any and everything to be announced at the pulpit or during the worship service
- When we allow politicians to take over pulpits in order to promote their agendas.
- When we allow people to use the house of God as a storage place instead of being used for the purposes of God
- When we use church properties – such as computers, church van, and musical instruments – for purposes not meant for church.
- There is another misuse of God’s properties. This happens a lot in church offices where those in the office allow their friends to use church copiers to copy their own stuff or business materials. Unfortunately, this is done without any compensation to the church. The church takes a loss for that which did not benefit the work of God. This is a very serious form of corruption I have observed over the years in churches. Some do this claiming, “These are public property”. This is tragic! How can a believer consider God’s property as a public property.
- Do not use God’s properties to make friends or please your friends. It is indeed a very dangerous practice because you will be dealing with God’s wrath and not the pastor of the church. So be careful in the way you treat the house of God and all that belongs to Him.
- In what other way has God spoken to you today from this passage?
I was greatly displeased
And Threw all Tobiah’s
Out of the
This had to be done
THIS DEFILES THE HOUSE OF GOD!
By Pastor Shadrack Ruto