This question was asked by Nehemiah after Israel was allowed to go back to their promised land. It appears there were several things that caused people to forsake the house of God. It didn’t take Nehemiah very long to find the answer to this question. The same things that caused the children of Israel back there to forsake the house of God are similar to why we have forsaken the house of God.
1. Bad spiritual leadership. Eliashib, the priest, who had the oversight of the chambers of the house of God, allowed Tobiah, an enemy of the Jews, to “set up house” in the storage rooms of God’s house. When this happened, the people who were attending to God’s house were not supported. They had to go to their fields to support their families. One reason the house of God is forsaken today is, the enemies of God have been allowed to “set up house” in the Church of Jesus Christ. They have discouraged our young people from going into Christian ministry. The young people who should be workers in the Church are out in the world.
2. God’s tithes and offerings were not given. The people were not supporting the house of God with their tithes and offerings. No doubt, there was no one to make sure the workers of God were given the means to work in God’s house. We have the same problem today. When the congregations don’t give their tithes and offerings for the work of the Lord, the house of God is forsaken.
3. The people of God intermarried with ungodly people. The people were intermarrying with foreigners that took them away from God’s house. When church people marry those who have no love for God, the house of God is forsaken. This has happened in our churches from the beginning.
4. The rulers were not enforcing the laws. They were probably the first to believe in the “separation of church and state.” They allowed the house of God to be overrun by God haters. Does this look like anything we are seeing in our nation? The needs of the Church of Jesus are scorned by many of our leaders.
5. The people were buying and selling on the Lord’s day. They were also working on the sabbath day. It is no different today than it was back there. To many people, the Lord’s day is no different than any other day. They forsook the House of God.
Nehemiah did not settle for this sad state of affairs. We should not let this continue in our nation either.
1. Nehemiah had a house-cleaning. He threw Tobiah and his belongings out of the house of God. We need to do the same. Those who hate God should not be allowed to “set up house” in God’s house. We must allow only people who love God and His Word to be leaders in our churches. We should not allow teachers and administrators in our Christian colleges and universities who do not teach the Word of God.
2. Nehemiah appointed godly people to attend to the needs of God’s house. He made sure God’s ministers were taken care of. We need to do the same. We need to make sure our pastors and church workers are well taken care of.
3. Nehemiah called the government leaders together and insisted they do their duty toward the house of God. America was once a Christian nation. We need to serve notice to our national leaders that their duty is to protect the people’s right to love and serve God.
4. Nehemiah insisted that the people of God not intermarry with ungodly people. We need to insist that our young people only marry godly people.
5. Nehemiah shut the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day. When God haters tried to lure the people away from sabbath worship, Nehemiah told them if they didn’t stop he was going to beat them up. They stopped.
The people went back to the house of God. The ministers of God were taken care of. The wicked were not allowed to be in leadership positions in the house of God. The national leaders were served notice of their obligations toward the house of God. A revival took place. The nation was blessed by God. Read the Books of Nehemiah and Ezra in the Bible to see the results of the Israelites going back to the house of God.
God has said in 2nd Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” God’s house has been forsaken long enough. It is time for us to go back to the house of God.