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Sunday: Tainted Temple Leadership — 9 Comments

  1. In Australia we have an expression, "snouts in the trough" to describe those who profit from their position. In recent times, government ministers have been caught handing our lucrative government contracts to family members, purchasing land expected to increase in value because of government decisions, and so on.

    It appears that even among the post-exilic Jews there were those who tried to profit in some way from their position. Family members were given special treatment, profiting from their position.

    Unfortunately human greed and self interest are still with us, even in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Building contracts are given to family members and friends, jobs are appointed to old school friends and so on. Whether we like it or not, the Church is a big business and is subject to the same foibles and temptations as secular businesses. And it is not just money that is involved. Positions of influence, and power bases develop, creating factions and groups within the church.

    In spite of all this I believe that God works through his church but it is up to us, as members of the body of Christ, to ensure that "snouts in the trough" behaviour is detected and corrected.

    • Holy are you Lord.

      Bro Maurice, I am so glad you are seeing with the same spiritual eyes as mine. Corruption from the top.
      Holy Spirit we need you more than before.

    • I will echo your sentiments as I have see the same thing here in America and in the Caribbean where I am from. I do hope that our leaders are studying these lesson as they speak to them in particular, and the rest of us in general, since we too may become leaders - at whatever level - in Gods church

  2. Tobiah stood strong against Nehemiah building the wall. (Nehemiah 2:10)
    They had made fun of Nehemiah and called it a treason to rebuild the wall (Nehemiah 2:19)
    Tobiah ridiculed the wall stating even a fox climbing on it could break the wall down (Nehemiah 4:3)
    When they heard of the rebuilding of the wall Tobiah was very angry, they plotted to come together to destroy the wall (Nehemiah 4: 7-8)
    Given the history, how did Tobiah ended up living in the temple storage area?
    We are in enemy territory.
    Unless God's people are constantly fighting against deception, spiritual degradation is inevitable.
    The warning Christ gave to the disciples concerning his return do not be deceived.
    Enemy of God is consistent in deceiving his people. He does not reveal his true intent.
    He is constantly working to undermine the work of God.
    Here the enemy of God had taken residence within the city gates of God's people.
    In his first trip, Nehemiah found the broken wall, people with a strong Spirit to rebuild the wall.
    In his second trip he finds the wall intact the spirit of the people broken.
    Marriage relationship with the grandson of Eliaship really took a turn for the worse for the Isarelites.
    How important is relationship?

    • How did Tobiah end up living in the temple? The same way that Constantine, a known sun-worshiper, joined the Christian church, and brought with him the Easter bunny, and Santa (just kidding about that). But he did bring compromise into the Christian Church. Lord Jesus, please help us!!

      God's peace and blessing to you all!

  3. The High Priest did something wrong, this is shocking! Or is it? He is also human.
    Leaders of the LORD's people should be an example to them, Paul said they should follow his example but he also knew he was 'chief of sinners' and needed the grace of Jesus to walk in His way.
    Some leaders of churches think they have power to even overrule the Word of the LORD, we should be like Peter Acts 4:19 and Martin Luther who told the leaders of the church in their day that they would rather follow the LORD than those leaders when they told them to stop preaching the truth.
    So I learn from this - leaders can make mistakes, my faith must be grounded on the Word of the LORD and not that of fallible humans.

    • I agree with you, Shirley; it is not suprising, then or in today's society. However, there is suppose to be a system of checks and balances in any system, whether it be the religious or the secular world (hint, hint) to prevent this kind of corruption from taking place, especially within God's church (or temple).

      However, this system of checks and balance can only works if there are men and women like Nehemiah that have the courage to stand up and call sin out, and demand that the problem is rooted out. Nehemiah had no problem, after he prayed to God, with going to Jerusalem and kicking Tobiah out of the temple; he evicted Tobiah quickly. Someone else, that was there on a daily basis in Jerusalem, should have done the same thing, or at least demand that Eliashib tell Tobiah that he can not live in the temple. Eliashib had already compromise with the enemy, which never works out.

      Nehemiah had left Jerusalem to go back to his post as the King's cupbearer, but someone else, living in Jerusalem, should have had the courage to stand up to Eliashib and not allowed him to defiled God's temple. We also, as leaders today, must stand up for the right, especially when it comes to God's house. This quarter's lessons, as I'm constantly telling my Sabbath school class over and over again, are not only about learning about the ancient Israelites, but more importantly it's about teaching US how to be "better leaders", which also involves being "courageous". That old saying is true, "if you will not stand for something, you will fall for anything".

      Let's choose to be "courageous" leaders for Jesus. God bless!

  4. We delude ourselves if we assume that all those who are religious leaders are immune to the influence and control of the Adversary. Note Nehemiah’s experience during the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall.

    Later I visited Delaiah's son Shemaiah, a grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined at home. He kept urging me, "Let's meet together at the house of God, within the Temple, and take refuge there, because they're coming to kill you. In fact, they're coming at night to kill you!" But I asked him, "Should a man like me run? Should someone like me run into the Temple to save his life? I won't go there!"

    I perceived that God had not sent him. Instead, Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him to pronounce this prophecy against me. He had been hired to make me afraid so I would sin by doing what he suggested. Then they could create a slanderous report to use against me. "Remember me, my God, and take note of what Tobiah and Sanballat are doing. Also take note of the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who intend to make me afraid." Nehemiah 6:10-14

    These leaders of Nehemiah’s time had fallen under the influence of the Adversary as they compromised to reduce friction with the surrounding peoples. Compromising the principles of God never results in good outcomes, even if short term outcomes seem beneficial. Note how Nehemiah dealt with this: he took it to God and then acted according to God's revealed will.

    This is why we must especially pray for those who lead in the church. Fallible human beings can wander far from God in their religious zeal. Consider Saul of Tarsus. The burden of their responsibilities can overwhelm church leaders, wearing them down, causing them to make decisions that are not in accord with the will and word of God. Even when they are doing their best for the cause of God, they are often the recipients of emails and letters criticising their work, or worse gossip and innuendo undermining what they are trying to accomplish for God. How discouraging!

    So in addition to praying for church leadership, we also need to pray for God’s spirit to lead us in ways that support these leaders and work to further the cause of God.

  5. Dear Jesus, look upon your people, speak to our hearts through the Holy Spirit and woe our hearts to yours.

    Corruption from the highest level.

    Sometimes people think I am a critic of the SDA church. What I criticizes is the things similar to Nehemiah days that occur in our churches. Neh 13:28 says Eliashib was the High Priest. One of his duty was to go before God on the day of atonement, spotless and without sin. Not anyone can be appointed to that position. But how did the High Priest became so corrupted? I guess, some will say just how many of them became corrupted. I can see State and Church reaching across and joining hands with each other. (Eliashib with Sanballat and Tobiah)
    Corruption got so bad that the place to house the food stuff to support the Levites, singers, porters and others who did daily work in the temple were emptied out and his heathen friend used that place as his dwelling house. Can things get worst than that? The answer is yes!!!
    The earlier chapters Neh 2:10 showed us how Sanballat and Tobiah were opposing Nehemiah and his team from returning to rebuild the temple. He(Tobiah), was fighting for his own interest.
    But did corruption died in the Israel era? Can it get worst than what we are seeing in our beloved church? Some church boards are run and governed by family members with few others of their close friends. The Pastor becomes powerless because they run the church as well as him. The school board is run also by families, any vacancies are filled by their own families and friends. Some churches tell the congregation what percentage to contribute to the offering. Election is a mockery to God from the lowest to the highest. Can it get worst than this in the church?? Not even mentioning our universities!!!
    Paul writing to the Ephesians says Eph 6:10-18. To be strong in the Lord.....we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. We are told we have much more to fear from those in the church than those out of it, be prayed up my people. Paul followed through with the remedy for our soul. To daily guard ourselves. Satan is on his war path to concur.


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