In this last chapter of Nehemiah, Israel has put out all the foreigners out of their assembly. Then Eliashib the priest, who was largely associated with Tobiah, gave him room in the place to store the Levites food was located. It is unthinkable to believe after all the resistance from Tobiah that the priest would ally himself with someone who wanted to oppress the Israelites. Too much power and poor accountability result in corruption.
Meanwhile, Nehemiah was not in Jerusalem, but back in Babylon with King Artaxerxes. He learned of Eliashib’s transgression and had Tobiah evicted once he came back to Jerusalem. Once again the house of God was neglected (13:11) because the Levites weren’t being paid or fed. The people had gone back to forsaking the Sabbath- which Nehemiah tried putting an end to by locking the gates at the night of the Sabbath. The intermarriage continued as well. Sins mounted on top of one another; all the while Nehemiah tried getting people back on track to follow God’s law.
Nehemiah continually asks God to remember him with favor for doing his will and calling the people to holiness. Nehemiah also asks God to judge those such as Eliashib and his family for defiling the office of the priesthood.
Lord, help me to not be discouraged when people I care about turn away from you in their sin. Help me not to be discouraged when people I care about break ties with me to continue in disobedience of the heart, mind, and deeds. Remind me to rest and hope in you alone. For you alone are worthy of all praise because you alone are holy, just, and full of love in all that you do.
Help our nation turn their hearts to you and help us to be the ones who are bold to call them back to repentance and turn their hearts of stone into a place where your Holy Spirit lives so they can fully realize the abundant life you have called them to. In Jesus name, Amen.