Upon this discovery, Nehemiah threw a holy fit. He ousted Tobiah’s personal items and demanded that the storerooms be cleaned, sanctified, and restored to their original purpose—holding the items meant for spiritual and personal provision.
With these items reinstated, Levites could return to their posts. Instead of laboring for food, they were able to enjoy their portion of provision and focus on the work they’d been called to do. Again, songs rang out. Again, gatekeepers offered their protection and wise discernment. Spiritual focus resumed.
There have been times I’ve let a Tobiah take lodging in my heart. I know this because I’ve had the storehouse of my inner man filled with the wrong things. Instead of the sounds of joy and glad thanksgiving, there was silence. Instead of an overflow of blessing, pouring out of me to others, there was just enough. Get-by crumbs. Instead of a well-guarded thought life and well-kept emotional domain, there were self-pitying thoughts and angry outbursts. Space designated for communion with the saints was occupied by criticism and offense. Gone was the fragrant incense of my prayer. Gone was the oil and wine that ministered to my soul. Something else was in residence. Things that had previously attempted to sneak in with fear and subterfuge, had somehow used its tentacled connections in me to dominate the very places I’d meant to protect, my sanctum of the holy.
Thankfully, for every Tobiah, there is a Nehemiah, a fiery passion that rises up and declares, “NO Way!” A part of my spirit man that leaps up at the first realization that something is awry and does whatever it takes to get my temple in order. The Nehemiah part of me recognizes what’s already been accomplished. It sees what’s already been expended. It counts the cost of effort already invested and refuses to let it be a waste.
See, I’ve worked too hard building walls. I’ve insisted on restoring worship from the ashes of previous defeat. I’ve tuned out the voices of compromise and fear. Why would I give residence to those same destructive forces I’ve denied before? I won’t. With prayer as my weapon, I expel my Tobiah’s and his baggage. I kick him to the curb and surrender to the Spirit’s purifying, purging, and sanctifying work in me.
Again, I enjoy the blessings of overflow. My song is restored. The guard of peace stands in place. The provision of God meets my need. My focus is sharpened for the spiritual. And Tobiah has to gather his clutter and move somewhere else since he’s not welcomed in me anymore.
Tip/Tidbit: Have you noticed your joy is lacking, your peace is non-existent, your worship is weak, or your prayer life is faltering? Has something taken residence in your emotions or thoughts that has silenced the song of your heart, filled you with anxiety, or caused you to fixate on something other than God? Perhaps, it’s time to kick the unwanted temple guest to the curb and invite the holy presence of God to fully inhabit your life. Get rid of the bad and welcome the good. Restore positivity, reestablish gratitude, remove the clutter of negativity, and rejoice with a fresh song in your heart.