Spring Cleaning

“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 house of God. I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense. Nehemiah 13:6-9


Nehemiah had left Jerusalem and when he came back he realized that he needed to do a little spring cleaning. Elisashib had let Tobiah move into the courts of the house of God. Tobiah was one of Jerusalem’s enemies. He was against them when they were rebuilding the wall. Eliashib let him move right in…and not just anywhere…into the courts of the house of God. When Nehemiah heard about the new occupant, he kicked him to the curb. He threw out Tobiah and his stuff. Then he put the court equipment and grain offerings back in.

As Christians, we are God’s temple. His Spirit dwells inside of us.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

What are we filling His temple with? Are we filling our lives with things that honor Him, or are we allowing “Tobiah” to take up residence in our lives?

For me, Tobiah represents the things in our lives that don’t honor God. Junk! Garbage! Sin! Maybe we need to get to the point Nehemiah was at and do a little spring cleaning. Get rid of the junk and throw Tobiah out. Then replace the junk with “equipment” that honors God. Equipment that is meant to be part of God’s temple and that brings Him glory. Spend time with the Lord and in His Word. Obey Him. Surround ourselves with people that honor Him. Give our time and energy to further His kingdom.

As I’ve been mulling this passage over, I wonder: Do I really get convicted and grieve over the sin in my life? Do I allow God access to those dark places I have kept hidden or that I just don’t want to admit to or deal with?

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

Rick Warren says it is wise to keep short accounts with God. Confess our sins on a regular basis and allow God to continually purify our lives.

It’s not just about taking the garbage out. It’s just as important that we put the right stuff back in.

Maybe it’s time for a little spring cleaning and remodeling. Allow God access. Let Him clean out those cobwebs. Let Him open those ancient doors. Get some new furniture and equipment to put in the rooms of our hearts that have been cleaned out. Furniture that honors Him!

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.

Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.

Psalm 24:3-4;7-10

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