Tidings for Tuesday

And it grieved me sore, therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber. Nehemiah 13:8

It seems amazing that Tobiah had ever obtained entrance to the temple of God, let alone be allowed to take up residence there. Tobiah was an Ammonite, an enemy of Israel. He was a powerful man who had strongly opposed the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the temple, and the restoration of God’s order. Through political pressure and politically-arranged marriages, he had gained the favour of Eliashib the priest, who allowed him to set up a home and business headquarters within the temple. He was using the space that was reserved for the Israelite’s grain offerings, incense, temple articles, and the tithes of grain, new wine and oil. As a result, none of those things required to sustain the work of the temple or the people who belonged there were being gathered. No wonder Nehemiah was grieved. No wonder he threw out all of Tobiah’s household stuff. Nehemiah’s zeal for the House of God should be evident today.

Are enemies like the troublemaker Tobiah in God’s house today? Are the things of the world occupying the place of the things of God in God’s Assembly? Has the enemy managed to move some of his own stuff in to take the place of true worship and faithful service? We hope not. But it can happen, and it has happened. There are some places that used to call themselves Assemblies where musical entertainment has taken the place of the Person of Christ as the focus of worship, where compromise and accommodation have replaced the Word of God as the authority for the gathering, where personal conviction has replaced divine principles as the guide for order and deportment, where political correctness has replaced ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in matters of reception and governance. Tobiah has set up residence and has a friendly relationship with those who should be booting him out the door.

Do you know what belongs and doesn’t belong in God’s Assembly? Have the courage to get rid of Tobiah’s belongings, so God’s people can function as God intends. -Jim MacIntosh

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