Nehemiah 11-13

Man’s Structure

In our study today we finish the Book of Nehemiah. Sadly, the book ends with a need for a house (Temple) cleaning.  The wall has been completed, there has been a revival, but few people want to move into the city which is interesting since the original reason to rebuild the wall was that the people were living in distress without the wall. So what are they going to do? They came up with a plan to cast lots and relocate one out of ten people living in the surrounding cities to Jerusalem.

Their intent was good but what is lacking? When they were first building the wall they went to the Lord in prayer when faced with trouble and opposition. There is no mention of prayer here. Instead we read of a structure being set up by man to keep things going and to manage the problem. The problem with a structure is twofold. First, it is a work of man and second, it is a means for the enemy to get a foothold because there is a man-made structure for self-seeking people to get in and climb up . It is not that what they did was sin it was that they simply took over and left God out while thinking they were serving Him.

In the Book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 we read of seven churches. Five of them did this very same type of  thing. The first church, Ephesus, in chapter 2:1-7, left their first love. They built a structure that left Jesus out. The next church, Pergamum, in 2:12-17, allowed the teachings of the false prophet Balaam and the Nicolaitans, a movement at the time, to compromise the church and corrupt the people. The next church, Thyatira, in 2:18-29, allowed the so called prophetic teaching of Jezebel to corrupt the bond servants (leadership) leading them into immorality and idolatry. The next church, Sardis, in 3:1-6, was resting on the events and leaders in the past instead of following the lead of the Lord. As a result they were becoming weak. Finally, Laodicea, in 3:14-22, was thriving in a time of prosperity and was so prosperous that they left the Lord out altogether. In reality, the church had become a social club.

To all seven churches our Lord is calling out to those who have an ear to hear what the Spirit has to say to each church. Apparently the church in Smyrna, in 2:8-17, and the church in Philadelphia, in 3:7-13, were the only ones listening.

In the five churches mentioned above, there were structures put in place where the enemy could gain access and corrupt the churches until they were deaf to the Lord and blind to what was going on. This was also the case in our reading today with Eliashib the high priest in charge of the storerooms of the Temple. He allowed Tobiah a room in the temple thus giving the enemy a stronghold while moving the items used for ministry out.  Apparently his relationship with Tobiah was more important than his relationship with the Lord.  

Churches today can be compromised in the same way. Churches are a target of the enemy who wants to get in and corrupt in any way he can. We need to be careful that we don’t build a structure that becomes a ladder that the enemy can climb to get in and corrupt the church. A structure is no substitute for seeking and listening to the Lord. God is still speaking through His Spirit and through His Word. The leadership and the pastor had better be listening to Him and not taking direction from the ways of the world. 

When the Church allows worldly thinking people in places of leadership, or worldly instruction of the people, corruption and compromise are sure to follow.

It is important that the church we attend is a Bible teaching Bible believing church that believes in the work and leading of the Holy Spirit, and seeks the Lord’s leading in prayer. The ministry that is going on should be to the people both in and outside the church and not for the purpose of life support of the church. Our faith is to be based on the Lord and not on an institution of man. The leaders are to be bond servants of the Lord drawing attention to the Lord and not to themselves.

Keep your faith strong in the Lord! Proverbs 3:5&6

Pastor Dave