Author: Ofer Amitai Messianic pastor – Jerusalem Director of Israel Prayer Centre
Neh. 13:4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah,
Neh. 13:5 prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.
Neh. 13:6 While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king
Neh. 13:7 and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
Neh. 13:8 And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber.
Neh. 13:9 Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.
This story is unbelievable, isn’t it? Here we have a priest giving an Ammonite servant, one of the prime opponents to the restoration of Jerusalem, who managed to marry into his family, prime office space. (See Nehemiah 2:10, 19; see Unger’s Bible Dictionary).
And not just any office space, but the very rooms set apart for the storage of the grain offerings, the frankincense, and the tithes due to the priests and Levites in charge of worship.
This led to a great decline in worship, in the teaching of the Word, from there to general compromise. The work of the restoration was in grave danger.
Compromise always brings us to decline, loss, and confusion. Compromise is dangerous to the work of God, both personally and corporately.
Do you give “office space” in your life to the enemy? Does your organization or church? Do we allow ourselves to live by the world’s methods or standards? Do we personally give room for the flesh and sin?
When Israel compromised and left the Canaanites in the land, God’s people were soon swallowed up in Canaanite idolatry and worship, and fell into great decay, sin, and evil.
The name Tobiah means the goodness of God. How ironic, but not surprising. Sometimes we can get confused between what is truly God’s goodness and not. Not every success is good or even from the Lord. Perhaps we want to spare something in our own lives that seems to be good. Or maybe a church can use some worldly method to further its goals and interprets its success as God’s goodness.
Nehemiah was not confused. He called evil by its name and did the only reasonable thing to be done; he threw Tobiah out along with all his furniture and proceeded to restore the sanctity of the place. You might be taken aback by this “violence” and think that maybe he acted out of the Spirit. If that is so, then what about Yeshua making a whip!
It is not worth it, I mean giving the enemy or the flesh or sin, room. It will bring great loss to you, or your organization, or congregation. No, you need a Nehemiah in your life. Thankfully you have one: Yeshua.
Heb. 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Invite him today into your life for some house cleaning, invite Him today to cleanse and renew and fill you afresh, and there will be worship again, and godliness. After all, you are the temple of the Living God.
Title: Touches by Ofer Amitai
Author: Ofer Amitai, Messianic pastor Jerusalem and Director of Israel Prayer Centre