In Nehemiah, we often hear about this fellow Tobiah, who was an Ammonite. The Ammonites were people who descended from the sin of Lot and his daughter. The other group were the Moabites (see Genesis 19:37-38). These groups were the ones responsible for denying the Israelites bread when in need (Deuteronomy 23:3-4). The Moabites led Israel to worship Baal (Numbers 25:1-3). Both the Moabites and Ammonites were the ones who tried to get Balaam to curse God’s people (Numbers 22). There was a lot of trouble with these groups of people.
Tobiah is mentioned numerous times in the Book of Nehemiah. We read that Tobiah was mocking Nehemiah when the great work was discovered (2:19). Later in Nehemiah 4, we read that Tobiah was ridiculing the work done for the wall (v. 3). Tobiah was angry as the work on the wall continued (4:7). We read in Nehemiah 6, that he was sending letters to try and intimidate Nehemiah from finishing the work God called him to complete (v. 19). Even so, we read in Chapter 13, that Eliashib the high priest allowed Tobiah to reside in the Temple in a storeroom, due to intermarriage.
All of this is a long history of trouble between these groups; however, in Nehemiah 13, we read that the group infiltrated the Temple of God. The sin that occurred back with Lot and his daughters, has now invaded the Temple of God. It was not something that just happened. It reminds me that as we shut the door so the devil cannot sneak through, he so often sneaks through the cracks. Here we have Tobiah desecrating the Temple and no one seems to blink an eye until Nehemiah returns and sees what has happened.
Today, let us remind ourselves that sin can slowly creep in and we may not always see so clearly what is happening until we have a great desecration. Be reminded of the importance to be in God’s Word. Cling to the Truth. Don’t allow yourself to be closely aligned with those who are deeply involved in the things of the world, or you may find yourself becoming involved in the world, rather than working on the Kingdom God has for you. Remember, your body is a Temple. Don’t allow the Tobiahs to reside in your storeroom. Instead, allow the Spirit of God to be the ever-present force within you.
When we look at Nehemiah 4, we see that Nehemiah faces opposition led by Sanballat & Tobiah. We can see three things about opposition in this passage. Opposition focuses on doubts. Opposition breeds conflict. Opposition discourages progress.
Again and again the people ask “will they” (v. 2). WILL THEY restore their wall? WILL THEY offer sacrifices? WILL THEY finish in a day? CAN THEY bring the stones back to life? Then verse 8 says they “plotted together” to fight and stir up trouble. Even though they finished half of the work, the people became discouraged. In verse 10, we read that people began to complain and believed that there was too much rubble to move. They began to stall.
Whenever we are doing a “great work” for God, we will face opposition. The devil doesn’t want us to continue forward and finish the work. He doesn’t want God to get the glory. He doesn’t want us serving God. Remember that the Lord is with you (v. 14) and He will fight for you (v. 20). No opposition can stand against God.