April 7, 2004 • By Ed Wrather04.07.04
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
The Israelites had a continual problem with their memory. They would continually forget how God had moved and worked in their lives. They would forget how God had blessed them and made their lives better. The Israelites would swear oaths and vows, which they would soon forget. As a result of their forgetfulness, they returned to their old way of living over and over again.
Nehemiah was a tremendous leader who confronted the Israelites living in Jerusalem with the truth of God’s Word and brought about once again a return to the ways of God. Toward the end of the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah leaves Jerusalem for two years. When he returns he finds many of the people are once again living as they did previously. One of the greatest enemies to the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem was Tobiah and his friends. Imagine how disappointed and upset Nehemiah was when he returned to Jerusalem and found Tobiah living in a large room in the Temple of God. A priest, Eliashib, who should have known better, offered the room to Tobiah. Nehemiah threw Tobiah out with his furniture onto the street. Many had also begun to intermarry with other ethnic groups as they had previously. Here is how Nehemiah says he dealt with the situation, “So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, ‘You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves (Nehemiah 13:25).’”
The apostle Paul reminds some of the Corinthians of where they had come from - they had come out of sin. It is the same place from which we have all come because “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” We tend to have the same memory problem as the Israelites. Even though we like the priest, Eliashib, should know better, we have invited the enemy back into our lives.
Living the Christian life is a continual process. We have been given all that we need to live victorious lives (Philippians 4:19). However, we must remember to take advantage of those resources each day. We will never outgrow our need for prayer, Bible study, and assembling with other believers. As soon as we neglect these disciplines, these resources of God, we begin to slide back into our old way of living.
Have you invited the enemy back into your life? Kick him out onto the street and return to holy living. Give your memory a reminder every day by reading and meditating on God’s Word. Don’t forget where you came from!