DEVOTION: Have You Neglected The House of God?
Nehemiah’s role in rebuilding the nation of Israel after they came back from exile went beyond the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. In today’s passage we see one of the many other things he did to rebuild the nation of Israel.
After cleaning the house of God as we saw yesterday, he found that the Levites had been neglected. Here is how Nehemiah expressed this:
I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. Nehemiah 13:10
This is a sad story! Imagine the Levites and musicians had to go back to their fields in order to find something to feed their families instead of fulfilling their duties at the Temple. Two things contributed to this problem.
First, because Eliashib the priest had given Tobiah permission to store his stuff in the storeroom, there was no room to store the tithes. While Nehemiah does not specifically say this is the cause, it is probably one of the reasons. Read this passage again.
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
Notice how Nehemiah rebuked the Leaders
So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?” Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts. Nehemiah 13:11
But the second reason, which is implied by the action taken by Nehemiah, is that the People had stop bringing the tithes to the House of God. This is the major reason that is clear and can be supported from other passages. The results of Nehemiah’s action is this:
All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms. I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites. Nehemiah 13:12-13
Nehemiah must have called on all Judah to bring tithes to the house of God so that those who worked there would have something to eat and to feed their families. The result was positive. The Levites and Musicians were brought back to fulfill their duties in the house of God.
A contemporary of Nehemiah who served the Lord during this period was the Prophet Malachi. It is in his writing that we get more clarity and confirmation that the people of Judah had neglected the house of God by failing to bring the tithes. Here is what Malachi said:
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Malachi 3:8-10a
Nehemiah calls this failure, a neglect of God’s House. But God said through Malachi, this is robbery.
1. It is therefore fair to ask this question: Have you neglected the house of God? How do you neglect the house of God? By failing to bring your tithes to the house of God. In today’s language, bring your tithes to your church.
2. Notice that failure to give your tithes results in shortages for the supply of Levites and musicians, which in our contemporary terms are Pastors, Secretaries, and everyone else working full-time, or part time at the church.
3. Notice also that the Levites and Musicians are not blame for abandoning their duties in the house of God to work in their fields in order to provide for their families. God said to the People of Judah through the Prophet Malachi, “You have robbed Me”.
4. If the work of God is suffering in your church because of lack of finances, and you are one of the members who do not give tithes, guess whom God is blaming? You!
5. If your Pastor has to go out and worked to feed his family, it means that the work that he is supposed to do will not be done. And if you are one of the members who do not give tithes, guess whom God is blaming? You!
6. One last question: Have you stolen from God? Are you stealing from God? You ask how can I steal from God? By failing to bring tithes to your church.
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings.
You are under a curse—your whole nation—
Because you are robbing me.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,
That there may be food in my house.
This is why I ask
HAVE YOU NEGLECTED THE HOUSE OF GOD?
By Pastor Shadrack Ruto