What do you seek most? The Psalmist wrote that the thing he desired most was “to live in the house of the LORD” forever. What? That was the one thing? If you had one thing to choose, would it be the same thing?
When I consider what I seek most, it really throws me for a loop. It gets me to remember again that today is just a short moment. It’s a small nothingness when compared to eternity. And yet when we pray, we likely are not saying that the one think we desire is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of our lives. How many times is that on your prayer list?
Today, remember some of the prayers this week. What are you seeking? Are you seeking the temporary? Are you fixed on Him? Is the thing you seek most to forever live in the presence of God?
“The one thing I ask of the LORD–the thing I seek most–is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in His Temple.” – Psalm 27:4 [NLT]
Trying to figure out who you are is one of the hardest things to do in life. I remember when I was younger, it was a big question that would be bounced around in my head. Many people would ask what I had planned for my future. I remember the “are you going to college” and “what do you want to be when you grow up” type questions. Now my kids hear those same questions.
The truth is, we live in a world that tries to tell us who we are, and so often we listen. We listen when the world tells us what we cannot do. We listen when the world tells us what we are “supposed” to do in the eyes of the world. We listen to what the world says about how we should think or what we should wear. We constantly are listening.
All of the listening we do, we forget to listen to the One Who is Truth. We miss out on truly grasping who we are—a child of the King. As we are busy trying to fulfill the titles of mother/father, sister/brother, friend, co-worker, parent, teacher, doctor, cashier, drama queen, youngest child, cat lady, etc., we look in all the wrong areas to figure out who we are and what makes us and moves us and completes us. We don’t understand our place in the world or what defines us because we aren’t looking in the right place.
May today be a reminder for you—for who you truly are in Christ Jesus. As a believer in Jesus Christ, many things are understood about you. You are the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14). You are chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16). You are a child of God (John 1:12). You are a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). You are a saint (Ephesians 1:1). You are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). You are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). You are a personal witness of Christ (Act 1:8). You cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). You have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14). You have access to God (Ephesians 2:18). You are united with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). My friends, THIS is who you are—now live it out!
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.
Tithing is always a sore topic to bring up. It seems whenever the “T” word is mentioned, people grab hold of their wallets, slide down in their seats, and contemplate why they should not open up their wallet because they don’t want anyone to catch a glimpse of what is inside. Many times the “T” word causes people to consider the church always “wants more of my money.” Some people might consider on what the church is using the tithed money.
In Nehemiah 13, we read about what happened to the Levites and the singers who did not receive the portion commanded by God. When Nehemiah returned to his duties for the king as cupbearer, the Israelites no longer gave the commanded portion and the Levites had to return back to their fields. This basically meant that the Levites, who were supposed to care for the Temple, had to leave their duties to take care of themselves. This is not how God designed everything to work out.
This saddens me. God commanded the people to take care of the Levites as they serve the Temple of God. The people dropped the ball and left the Levites to fend for themselves. There is great importance in taking care of God’s house. For us, things are different. We don’t have a Temple like back in Nehemiah’s days. Instead we have two very important items of great significance of which need provisions and care. We have our bodies, which is what houses the Holy Spirit. We also have our local church. It is important that we care for both; treat your body as a temple of God and remember that yes, God doesn’t need your tithe, but you need your tithe. Why? Because by tithing, you are giving God back what He has given you. You are worshiping Him rather than worshiping things. You are fixing your eyes on the Creator and King, rather than on temporary. It is a joy to give. It is a blessing to give. Give abundantly and watch what happens.
“I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field.” – Nehemiah 13:10 [ESV]
Pride is poison. For most people, it slowly seeps in without much notice until it is too late. Uzziah became strong because of all of the machines he had for protection. They used the machines on the towers and on the corners to shoot arrows and big stones at enemies.
Uzziah sought the Lord and God prospered him. He had this great protection, but the safety and security bore pride in him. Uzziah was famous because of God. Uzziah was protected because of God. But then he became “arrogant and proud, he fell.” Things went to his head just like they go to our heads.
As pride got the best of him, Uzziah went into the Temple and he acted “like he owned it and took over.” This was the place God’s name resided. This was the Temple of God. There were rules. There were priests consecrated for this work. But Uzziah walked in there like he could do anything. He ended up being “unfaithful and a disgrace.” He forgot God prospered him. He forgot God is holy. He forgot all of this because he was full of himself. Remember my friend, you don’t own it—you don’t own anything. Continue to be thankful for how God has prospered you and never forget we are to be humble servants. No one is better than another—and only God deserves honor and praise.
“But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, he fell. One day, contemptuous of God, he walked into The Temple of God like he owned it and took over, burning incense on the Incense Altar. The priest Azariah, backed up by eighty brave priests of God, tried to prevent him. They confronted Uzziah: ‘You must not, you cannot do this, Uzziah—only the Aaronite priests, especially consecrated for the work, are permitted to burn incense. Get out of God’s Temple; you are unfaithful and a disgrace!’”
– 2 Chronicles 26:16-18 [MSG]
David addressed his son Solomon with some important words that we too can claim for ourselves. Solomon was entrusted with the plans to build the Temple, as we are entrusted with the Great Commission. David told Solomon not to be fearful or anxious. He basically said, “Son, don’t get discouraged. God is with you.”
God is with you too! You are not simply given direction and told to walk alone. As David told Solomon, “(God) won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch.” What does this mean? To be left in the lurch means to be left without assistance, without support needed in a difficult situation. To be left in the lurch is when you are left by someone at a particular time when you need them to stay.
Trust me friend, God does not leave you. The Holy Spirit is right with you every step of the way. You are not on this journey alone. The road might be rough, but you are going to make it! Let us finish this race together!!
“David continued to address Solomon: ‘Take charge! Take heart! Don’t be anxious or get discouraged. God, my God, is with you in this; he won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch. He’s at your side until every last detail is completed for conducting the worship of God. You have all the priests and Levites standing ready to pitch in, and skillful craftsmen and artisans of every kind ready to go to work. Both leaders and people are ready. Just say the word.’”
-1 Chronicles 28:20 [MSG]