Thought for Thursday

Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together and set them in their place. Nehemiah 13:11

Nehemiah knew the answer before he asked the question. There were several reasons why there were no workers or worshipers in the temple. And those same reasons apply to the abandonment of God’s dwelling place today, His Assembly.

First, there was poor leadership in the temple. Eliashib the high priest was too friendly with Israel’s enemies, and had actually allowed Tobiah the Ammonite to move into the temple. He was occupying the space reserved for titles and supplies for the temple work. Does leadership in our Assemblies allow enemies and things of the world to take the place of God’s truth and God’s order? May God preserve us from that happening.

Nehemiah had to deal with the failure of the people to support the temple worship and work with their tithes. A lack of support, whether failure to give money or time, is a problem among us today, and retards God’s working among us.

Yet another problem Nehemiah found was the intermarriage of Israelites with the godless nations around them. We know that God cannot bless mixed multitudes or unequal yokes. This includes allowing unsaved persons or very carnal Christians in Assembly fellowship and allowing Christians to intermarry or enter business partnerships with unsaved persons. If we have these problems among us today, we cannot expect success in our Gospel efforts, or peace and godliness in our gatherings.

A fourth issue Nehemiah identified was the lack of enforcement of God’s laws by the rulers. A failure to maintain Godly principles and order in our Assemblies is also a recipe for trouble and declension.

Nehemiah was also dismayed to find a lack of respect for the Sabbath, especially the brisk business that merchants ran on that day. If he was dismayed back then, how much more shocked would he have been today? The Lord’s Day is ignored, abused, or profaned by almost everybody, and that includes Christians. Rather than reserving the day for the things of the Lord, we use the day for all sorts of activities, and attend a few meetings, if convenient. Not only the Lord’s Day, but almost everything to do with God is pushed aside by the world today as irrelevant. This attitude leaves many meetings poorly attended and many Christians poorly prepared for worship and service.

Nehemiah cracked a vigorous whip to remedy the problems that left the house of God forsaken in his day. What can we do to remedy these same problems in our day? -Jim MacIntosh

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