Thursday, November 6, 2014

Spiritual Match-Up

He couldn't believe what he was hearing. He finally managed to sputter out, "What?"

"Go to the Temple."

He stood up quickly, knocking the chair he had been occupying to the floor. The clatter reverberated in the otherwise silent room. Nehemiah gave Delaiah a hard look. Something about this stunk more then a day old sheep carcass.

Delaiah was confined to his house. A horrid accident twenty years ago had almost cost him both his legs. While over the years his legs had healed, they had never regained their strength. Delaiah was confined to his house do to his injury, except when people were kind enough to carry him to and fro.

Point was, Delaiah hadn't gone anywhere.

So did someone come to him?

Nehemiah spoke slowly. "You want to meet in the Temple? Not here, but lock ourselves in the Temple because Sanballat and Tobiah are sending men to kill me?"

Delaiah held his harsh glare without so much as a twitch. He was perfectly believable.


"You know I can't do that." Delaiah started to speak, but Nehemiah cut him off. "No. I am a leader among these people. I cannot and will not run away. And why would I go into the Temple and lock myself behind their doors? I'm an not consecrated for Temple service. No, the plan is to have me break God's law, and then they will spread this among the people to give me a bad name."

Delaiah didn't speak. He didn't need to. Nehemiah already knew he had hit the truth square on the tent peg.

"Sanballat and Tobiah bribed you. Just like they bribed Noadiah, the prophetess, and the other prophets."

Nehemiah studied the man he had thought he could trust.

It was abundantly clear that the Lord was not with him.

Based on Nehemiah 6:10-14

You might read this story and wonder what was wrong with going into the Temple to hid out? Surely God wouldn't mind Nehemiah hanging out if it was to save his life, right?

Well, let me just give you a little back story to the Temple. There were certain areas that the people could and couldn't go into. The restricted areas were specifically for the priest who were from the tribe of Levi. Delaiah wasn't suggesting that Nehemiah hand out in the open parts with everyone else. No, he was telling Nehemiah to find the smallest, hidden cranny that he could and camp out there.

You also need to remember that this was before Jesus died for us. His death was the ultimate sacrifice for us, and has absolved us from making further blood sacrifices for our sins. However, while Nehemiah was alive, that wasn't the case. For him to go in there, would have been bringing sin into Holy places.

Nehemiah knew all this. Instead of letting fear from this "man of God" overtake him, he compared what Delaiah was saying to God's commands.

"And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had haired him." Nehemiah 6:12

Delaiah wasn't the only one to be swayed to the dark side with bribes from the enemy. Other prophets tried to trick Nehemiah, too.

None of it worked though.

That's because Nehemiah knew what God had said.

Did any of you ever play that match-up game as kids? All the cards are lying face down, and you can only flip two at a time. If it's two horses, then you have a pair, and you set them aside for yourself as a point. If it's a duck and a rabbit, then you have to flip them back over because you've got nothing. However, on your next turn, you might get a goat and a duck. So on your next turn, you flip the duck cards over and gain another point. That is, if you remember where they are.

All kinds of people are going to tell you things about God. Some of it right, and some of it very, very wrong. You need to know God for yourself. So that when someone says something, you can get out your spiritual match-up cards and think, 'Hmm. Does that match up with what the Bible says?" If it doesn't, then leave it there. That's a snake/devil card, and it's a trap.

Sometimes, even people who look and act like Christians go against God's word. In order for you to know who's who, you need to know God and your Bible. Match it up! If it doesn't match what God says, the flip that card over because you don't want it.

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1

V. Joy Palmer

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