Nehemiah led the effort to rebuild Jerusalem. He returned the Word of God to public reading, reestablished the worship, the Sabbath, and the festivals of the Jewish faith, and rededicated a confessing people to follow their God. Then he left for a time, traveling to Babylon to visit her king. He returned after who knows how long, but it was too long, because sin had moved back into the city. Tobiah, an Ammonite enemy of Israel and God, was living in a room in the temple. Evil doesn’t ask to be in charge, but tolerated, because then it’s in charge. The temple was neglected, the Sabbath was ignored, and the people were marrying foreign women who worshipped foreign gods. “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin” (Nehemiah 13:26). Purity cannot abide evil. A child dropped his ice cream cone upside-down onto the dirt. It ruined his ice cream. Didn’t bother the dirt at all.
So Nehemiah cleaned house, literally. “And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber” (Nehemiah 13:8). There is a time for tantrums because there is such a thing as too much tolerance. “And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair” (Nehemiah 13:25). It reminds me of a man who walked into a temple and began turning over tables.
Holy God, I love Your Word. Everything in it tells me about life, how it should be lived and Who it should be lived for. It displays Your goodness, Your righteousness, Your holiness. Your grace and mercy. Your love.
God, I commit myself to You. Set me apart from the sin around me. Surround me with others who love what is good. Keep me good, keep me righteous, keep me holy by Your Word. Forgive me when I stray, and lead me back to the right path.