Nehemiah 12:27-13:14; 1 Corinthians 11:1-12; Psalms 35:10-18; Psalms 12:11
OT: “Now before this, the priest Eliashib had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was a relative of Tobiah and had prepared a large room for him where they had previously stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, and the tenths of grain, new wine, and fresh oil prescribed for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, along with the contributions for the priests. While all this was happening, I was not in Jerusalem, because I had returned to King Artaxerxes of Babylon in the thirty-second year of his reign. It was only later that I asked the king for a leave of absence so I could return to Jerusalem. Then I discovered the evil that Eliashib had done on behalf of Tobiah by providing him a room in the courts of God’s house. I was greatly displeased and threw all of Tobiah’s household possessions out of the room. I ordered that the rooms be purified, and I had the articles of the house of God restored there, along with the grain offering and frankincense.” (Nehemiah 13:4-9 CSB)
Nehemiah’s time as Governor of Judea was temporary. Once his allotted time was up, he had to return to Babylon and his position as cupbearer to the King. Even though Nehemiah left people in authority to carry on where he left off, apparently the men who were left in leadership did not share his same level of conviction. Nature abhors a vacuum and will rush in to fill any emptiness. In the same way, the kingdom of darkness loves a leadership vacuum and will rush in and fill gaps with disorder. Eliashib was the High Priest at the time and carried the responsibility of keeping the temple undefiled and in order. Unfortunately, there was mixture in Eliashib’s life. Someone in his family had married into the Amalekites – and because of that, he had family ties to Tobiah. Apparently, Eliashib must have believed in the adage “blood is thicker than water.” Because of the mixture in his own life and his stronger commitment to family than the holiness of the temple, he allowed Tobiah to move into the temple of God and take up residence – siphoning off monies from the Temple offerings. When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he was greatly displeased and kicked Tobiah out of the Temple at once.
During creation, God rescued the earth from chaos and disorder and established peace and order. He set up a hierarchy of authority and gave dominion of the earth to mankind. God is a God of order, and His order includes lines of authority and roles of leadership. As leaders remain submitted to God as the supreme authority, God’s peace and order will remain. As soon as delegated leaders come out from under God’s authority or shirk their responsibilities, the chaos and disorder of the kingdom of darkness will move in and take up residence. There is never a time to be lax in guarding over what has been entrusted to us. If we grow lax in our leadership responsibilities, before you know it, the enemy will move in, take up residence, and drain us of the blessings God intends for us. Keeping our lives holy… keeping our families holy… keeping our church holy requires conviction, a lack of mixture, and unwavering diligence by the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
NT: “But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ… In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, and man is not independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman, and all things come from God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3, 11-12 CSB)
God’s kingdom is a kingdom with lines of authority. That hierarchy of authority is there to keep peace and promote order. Everyone in God’s kingdom is under authority to someone with God the Father at the top of the hierarchy. Authority is not a measure of equality, but a delineation of roles. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are all equally God, but the Son is under the authority of the Father, and the Spirit is directed by the Father and the Son. In God’s wisdom, He has set up a hierarchy of authority from heaven to earth. God the Father is head of Christ, Christ is head of man, and man is head of woman. Again, that has nothing to do with equality, but rather role, covering and service. In God’s kingdom, authority isn’t rulership… it isn’t something that one uses to rule over another. In God’s kingdom, authority is service: the more authority you have, the more you are called to serve those who are positioned under your care, protection and leadership. Jesus taught that the One with the greatest authority is servant of all. Man is not better than woman, nor is woman less than man. Both equally need each other – and in the Lord, both are of equal value and importance with different roles. All people and all roles of authority come from God. When people begin mistreating their roles of authority, or when people begin sidestepping or usurping God-given authority, chaos and disorder will move in and take up residence.
Prayer: God, I thank You that You are a God of peace and order. I thank You, that in Your hierarchy of authority I am under the care and leadership of some – and You have also entrusted me with leadership over others. Help me, by your grace through faith, to trust in, submit to, and fully serve within that prophetic alignment – that my life and the lives of all within my sphere of influence may be blessed with Your order, safety and peace. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.