What does it mean to repent? It is one thing to feel sorry that you did wrong, it is another thing to truly repent. As Martin Luther said, “To do so [to sin] no more is the truest repentance.”
The next several days in our study take a markedly darker turn. After all the repentance, the joyful worship, and the hard work that Nehemiah and the rest of God’s people had done, it seems they all too quickly returned to business as usual. They turned away from the Lord and compromised their relationship with Him and with one another.
Tobiah is the one of the book’s primary antagonists. He had consistently opposed Nehemiah and the efforts to rebuild Jerusalem. We watched as Nehemiah stood up against him and remained faithful to the Lord. However, when Nehemiah left, the people did not remain steadfast.
Eliashib was a priest responsible for caring for the Temple and ensuring proper worship of the Lord. He was also Tobiah’s relative, and his loyalty to Tobiah outweighed his loyalty to the Lord. In fact, Eliashib took one of the rooms that should have been used to store the gifts and offerings people brought to the Temple and turned it into a nice living quarters for Tobiah!
We will soon learn the likely reason the room had been empty, but today simply take note that what had been intended for the flourishing of the Temple and its attendants was now being used for one the primary enemies of the restoration. Things had quickly fallen apart! Clearly God’s people had not changed their ways with true repentance.
>> Is there an area of your life that should be reserved for the Lord, but you have been using it for something else? Maybe it is your money? Or perhaps it is your time? Spend some time in confession today asking God to show you His truth and to restore you to the right path before Him.
Usually, we are our own greatest stumbling block in honoring You, Almighty God. Please convict us of areas in our lives that we have not submitted to You. Grant us mercy and joy in true repentance.