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Friend or Foe?

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
Psalm 119:9

The book of Nehemiah contains a remarkable story of overcoming adversity. I have read, listened to and taught the lessons in Nehemiah.

In chapters 3-6 two naysayers, Tobiah and Sanballat, seethed with anger that Nehemiah and the Israelites were trying to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. These rascals used all the means at hand to prevent the completion of the wall.

First, they mocked, despised and plotted against the people. When that didn’t work, they sought to discourage, confuse and intimidate them. Lastly, they attempted to discredit and ensnare Nehemiah. Despite the constant resistance, the wall was completed in only 52 days!

All was well – or so I thought. I was taken aback to hear that the nefarious Tobiah had returned in chapter 13 of Nehemiah. Why is that scoundrel back? I wondered. Tobiah was seen moseying in the temple courts. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Israelites had given him provision in one of the temple storehouses!

How could the Israelites have allowed a notorious enemy to live among them? Because the people were no longer following God’s plan in some areas. Psalm 119:9 tells us how to stay or get back to the path of purity – by living according to God’s word.

Fortunately, Nehemiah came to the rescue! He ousted Tobiah and all his belongings. He then replaced the temple articles and offerings in the storeroom.

Ladies, in what areas of our lives have we allowed Tobiah to take up residence? Often it isn’t the obvious sins that plague us. Less noticeable ones may may creep in. Laughing at off-color jokes. Spreading gossip. Watching inappropriate movies. Crowding out the time we used to spend with God. It might be time to boot Tobiah out and purify the storeroom!

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).


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