In the story of Nehemiah I read where Tobiah scorned your people as they were trying to rebuild the city wall, saying, “even a fox would collapse the wall by walking on it.” Despite his taunts, the people completed the wall, protecting the city as well as the temple, where your divine presence was honored. Then I read where years later, Tobiah was living in the temple storeroom, and your temple was being neglected. What a mockery! Though the wall was in place, it did not prevent that fox Tobiah from ridiculing their identity as well as your glory.
As I reflect on this ancient story, I’m reminded of influences that I’ve overcome as I’ve followed Jesus. Yet there have been times where these influences have made their way back into my life and into my heart, the place where I want you to be honored and worshiped. Forgive me for making a mockery of you, Father.
Instead, help me to cast out and keep out the deadly sins of my past and present. Give me the courage of conviction to expel them from my heart, just as Nehemiah evicted Tobiah from the temple storehouse. Replace these sin habits with better practices that allow me to honor and worship you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Help me to be true to you and to my identity as a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. Amen.
When I arrived back in Jerusalem, I learned about Eliashib’s evil deed in providing Tobiah with a room in the courtyards of the Temple of God. I became very upset and threw all of Tobiah’s belongings out of the room.