“But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king, Some time later I asked his permission and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the hose of God.” Nehemiah 13:6-7 NIV
Too often we take for granted the Godly leadership that has been given to us in the form of the Pastors and other Spiritual leaders in our lives. I am thankful for my Pastor and his leadership over me as well as the influence of other Godly men in my life, some of whom have ministries around the globe.
It is important to be appreciative to Jesus for these Godly coverings in our life that we thank Him for those people in your life, and that we pray for those that God has placed over us. For without the presence of those spiritual leaders, there is no telling where you may be. As we see from the book of Nehemiah, in the absence of such leadership the people tend to drift away from obedience to the Lord.
Nehemiah was used by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. But the time came when he had to return to Persia where he was a cupbearer to the King. He had come to Jerusalem only at the suffrage of King Artaxerxes. In the 13th chapter, we find that he had returned to the city of the king, and no longer had an influence on Jerusalem. Upon his return, he found that the people had turned away from the Lord in a very short time. The chapter cites a number of failings of the people.
In his absence, they stop giving their tithes to the Temple. They begin to marry foreign women, and they were breaking the Sabbath. Perhaps their most evidential move away from obedience was their actions with the enemy of the Lord.
Tobiah had been a cause of much trouble during the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. He had even plotted against Nehemiah, using means of deception and lies in an attempt to destroy the man and his mission. While Nehemiah is away this very same Tobiah was invited to live in a furnished room adjoining the Temple. The invitation came from the priest himself.
This epitomizes the hearts of men when spiritual leadership is vacant. People begin to harden their hearts to the things of God. They open the door for the devil to move right into their dwelling, creating havoc in their lives.
Don’t take for granted what God has given you in your Pastor and other spiritual leaders of your life. Lift them up in prayer every day. They keep you spiritually focused.
J Todd Hostetler