Nehemiah 13:9-11—Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense. And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
Nehemiah had to return to Persia for an extended time. When he was given permission and returned to Jerusalem, he was shocked. Politics had already entered the Temple worship. One of the priests was related to Tobiah, an enemy of Jerusalem and a leader of opposition. This connection got Tobiah a room in the Temple itself. When Nehemiah returned, that priest had already been expelled but no one knew what to do about Tobiah’s things. Nehemiah did! He threw them out into the street and commanded the room to be cleansed and the Temple treasures restored. What a picture of our hearts! We sometimes have a little connection with the world. Before we know it, the world moves in and fills up one of the rooms. Just like in Jerusalem, worship begins to be neglected. The Jews had stopped supporting the singers and gatekeepers so they all went to work somewhere else. Once the world moves in, we start giving praise to other things. Our giving to the work of God begins to dwindle, and worship suffers. No one is guarding the gates and all kinds of other compromises begin to sneak in. “Why is the house of God neglected?” That is to say, why have you allowed this backsliding of your spiritual condition? We occasionally need this kind of a rebuke to help us see how far we have fallen. When we hear it, we need to restore things as they were. Put things in their proper places.