Unwelcome Guest | Nehemiah 13

Welcome to Real Life. Not every guest is welcome.

Perched on death-defying cliffs. Walls three-feet-thick. Moats lined with razor-sharp objects meant to maim. I toured five castles in Slovakia last month.  Unlike Disney's Cinderella castle, these fortresses were designed to repel enemy invaders.

Spiš Castle, Slovakia

Jerusalem's city wall provided such fortification. Empowered by God, Nehemiah and the remnant Israelites rebuilt it in a mere fifty-two days. (See previous post, Ask Boldly). However, upon his return from reporting to King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah received disturbing news.
"I learned about Eliashib’s evil deed in providing Tobiah with a room in the courtyards of the Temple of God. I became very upset and threw all of Tobiah’s belongings out of the room. Then I demanded that the rooms be purified, and I brought back the articles for God’s Temple, the grain offerings, and the frankincense" (Nehemiah 13:7-9 NIV).
Eliashib welcomed in the very enemy Israel built a wall to keep out. Tobiah, the Ammonite, co-led the resistance against the restoration project, hurling demoralizing insults, and plotting to murder Nehemiah. Why, then, would Eliashib give him a temple room? They were related. Tobiah and his son married Israeli women. The enemy sometimes arrives with candy and flowers.

Really, Eliashib? What were you thinking? I said to myself until the Spirit whispered, "Have you given the enemy a room, Peggi?" I knew precisely what he meant.

Insecurity came knocking. I let him in. He regularly visits after I receive a teaching, speaking, or writing opportunity, saying, "You can't do this? You're not perfect enough, polished enough, or good enough." Before long, I'm second-guessing God’s call to proclaim his truth.

His attack is effective because it rings true. I’m not perfect, polished, or good enough. I'm not enough period. Yet, a higher truth exists. God uses broken vessels. His truth shines most brightly through our cracked placed, the places where we desperately need God. His strength is perfected in our weakness.

I'm not good enough. But our God is. He opens the door to these opportunities. We have a choice. Will we give the enemy a room? Or will we, like Nehemiah, throw out the enemy’s goods? Refuse to entertain those not perfect, polished, or good enough thoughts. Then, cleanse the room with prayer. And finally, sanctify it with truth. We don’t need to be enough. God is. We can stand confident in him.
"Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NIV).
So, let's build our walls of faith. Fortify our gates with truth. And never, ever give the enemy a room!

Prayer of Confidence [1]
Precious Lord,
My strongest confidence comes from consistent prayer that connects me with you. Help me to rely more on prayer and less on my capabilities, especially when I’m feeling insecure. My strongest identity comes from what you say about me. Help me to embrace your words about me and live like I believe them. My strongest role is that of being a daughter of you, the King. Help me to draw upon that when my foundation is shaken. My strongest purpose is to bring glory to you. Help me to be the best me I can be, since you made me the way I am to fulfill a unique part in your grand plan. That is stunning to realize, Lord. Thank you. Thank you.
In the name of Jesus, amen.

[1]
 Character Makeover by Katie Brazelton and Shelley Leith, p. 88




Which enemy comes knocking at your door?

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