Nehemiah 12:27-13:31 Have you ever been in a home where the garbage has not been emptied for days, the dishes are stacked a mile high, and bed sheets have not been changed for months? When my son was on drugs and living with two other boys in a rental house, I went to visit him. No one answered the door, but the door was opened, so I thought maybe Ray was sleeping. I opened the door, and what faced me was unbelievable. It was just like the home I described above. When I discovered no one was home, I set about to straighten things out as best as I could. After two hours of work and a spray of room deodorizer, the house was in much better order.
We may never neglect our own home this way, but we can neglect our own temple. Our bodies are the home of the Holy Spirit, and often we need to cleanse the chambers of this home. The garbage of unconfessed sin and the wrong attitudes that keep us from serving God with our whole heart can cause quite a stench in the our personal temples. Confusion can clutter the chambers of our mind, and doubt and unbelief can soon gain a foothold.
In our reading today we see where Nehemiah had to cleanse the chambers where Tobiah lived. Tobiah had taken the things that belonged to the priests and had hidden them in his chambers. Tobiah was an enemy of Israel and Nehemiah. He had scorned Nehemiah as he set about to rebuild the walls of the city. Eliashib prepared a chamber in the house of the Lord for this enemy of Israel to live. When Nehemiah found out about this, he said, "And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense" (Neh. 13:8-9, KJV).
Tobiah, an enemy of God, had been enjoying all the things that belonged to the priests. We too have an enemy who loves to rob us of the things of God that belong to us as priests. Jesus calls Satan a thief and a liar who is out to destroy us. If we allow Satan to house himself in one of the chambers of our temple (our mind, soul or body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit), we will begin to stink with sin. Make no mistake. Satan wants to take over not just one chamber in your holy temple, but he wants to take over your entire body and use it for his dirty work. If we fail to cleanse the chambers of our home where the Holy Spirit lives, then before you know it, the dirt and filth of Satan will spread into more chambers. We will find ourselves far away from the sweet aroma of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are holy vessels that contain the Holy Spirit. I am challenged by this reading, and I hope you are challenged also to do a house cleaning daily through confession and repentance of sins.
READ: Nehemiah 12:27-13:31; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 21:17-18