This past week I wrapped up our sermon series on Nehemiah. We have been studying in Nehemiah since the first week of September. It was bittersweet to wrap it up. God has used this series to carry our church through a time of regeneration and renewal, much like the story in Nehemiah.
I have been keeping track of all that God has been teaching me. The amount I have learned through teaching Nehemiah has been huge. As I think about the one thing that has stood out to me, and has made the largest impact, I believe it came in chapter 13.
In Nehemiah 13:4-9, I saw the best description of a problem with which we all struggle. Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem after some time away. Upon his return he finds that one of the priests has cleared out a place in the temple for one of the enemies of God to live! They actually cleared out the place where tithes would be kept in order to make room for a man who stood against the principle of God! The priest did this because the man was family and a politician. I can only assume it was done for personal gain. Upon finding this, Nehemiah was Angry! He immediately threw out the furnishing and evicted the man from the chamber. Nehemiah then ordered that the chamber be “cleansed” and that it be returned to its proper use. It was a place where the investment in the church was stored. It had been empty, but would now be filled again!
Here’s how this applies to us…….It reminds me of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe!
So many times in life we find some room in our lives that belongs to God. But, we selfishly want that room for something else. We may want to use it to fulfill selfish gains like materialistic aspirations, building notoriety and fame, building wealth, building relationships, etc. Whatever it may be, it finds its way into that room of our lives. We slowly, or even sometimes abruptly, clean out God’s stuff and replace it with our own. We fill up the space where God should be able to store his blessings. We get in the way of the potential blessings God could place in our lives.
Seeing this in the temple made Nehemiah angry! He had no choice but to move to action and clean up the mess. In our lives we need to recognize this very thing. We need to be angry enough to move to action! We need to clean out the sin and junk in our lives and give God His space back!
I have been struggling through the things I need to clean out. For me it is usually stuff, aspirations and relationships. I let that stuff get in the way of the time I should be spending with God. I have to work double time to make sure I am not accumulating these things into my life in such a way that the take the place of God! I have to make sure that those areas of my life are left to their proper use according to God’s calling in my life! It really is a dirty job. It means I have to admit my failings and my selfishness. Ugh!
What are the things you need to work on cleaning out? What is our Dirty Job?