Exodus chapter 32. We have the famous story about Moses being up in the mount receiving the ten commandments from the Lord, and then while he's gone, the people end up worshiping the golden calf. Aaron fails to lead the people properly, and all of this horrible sin takes place, and then God is judging them. People are killed, people are plagued as a result of all the sin that came in.
Now, the title of my sermon this morning is this, "When the Cat Is Away, the Mice Will Play." All throughout the bible we see this illustrated. There's a strong leader, and then when that strong leader is absent, then everything just goes nuts. Everything goes crazy, and there's always a bad element that's just waiting to fill that leadership void. As soon as the strong leader is not there laying down the law, someone's just waiting in the wings to fill that void and lead people astray. Notice in this story, in Exodus chapter 32, it says in verse one, "When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together under Aaron and said unto him, 'Up. Make us Gods which shall go before us! For this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we want not what has become of him.'" Notice, there are people that are just gathering together, certain instigators, that are saying, "Hey, let's make golden gods. We don't know what's going on with Moses," and so on, and so forth.
Flip over if you would to second chronicles chapter number 24. There's a similar story. Let me just kind of bring you up to speed with this story in second chronicles chapter 24. There had been a wicked woman that had been ruling over the land. Her name was Athaliah, she was the queen. She had led the people into worshiping false gods and so forth. There was a righteous element in the land that took the kingdom back, and Jehoiada the priest was the leader of that movement. Jehoiada the priest had Athaliah killed, and got rid of all the false god worship and so forth. Joash is a seven year old boy who is of the kingly line, and he's going to put Joash on the throne instead of this wicked woman Athaliah.
In verse one of chapter 24 it says, "Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 40 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Zabiah of Beer-sheba." Of course, a seven year old boy isn't really going to be able to step in and be the king, and be a great leader. Throughout history, when a child would become king there would be someone else that would actually be running things in his place known as the regent. The guy who's actually running things is Jehoiada the priest, but Joash is made king at age seven. It says in verse number two, "And Joash did that which was right in the side of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest."
As long as Jehoiada was there guiding him, and teaching him, and instructing him, everything went well. Jump down to verse 15 it says, "But Jehoida waxed old and was full of days when he died. 130 years old was he when he died. They buried him in the City of David among the kings because he had done good in Israel both toward God and toward his house." After the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah and made obeisance to the king. Then, the king harkened unto them and they left the house of the Lord, God of their fathers, and served groves, and idols, and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for their trespass. Yet, he set prophets to them to bring them again under the Lord, and they testified against them, but they would not give ear.
Notice, as soon as the strong, powerful leader, Jehoiada, is gone, there's a wicked element that's just waiting in the wings, these princes of Judah come, and they make obeisance under Joash, meaning that they bow down before him. They are flattering him and buttering him up as it were, and talking him into allowing them to bring in the worship of false gods, and to build all these altars [inaudible 00:04:23], and so forth. We see the same story here where when the leader is gone, a weak leader gives in to the demands of the people. The weak leader was Aaron in Exodus 32. Here, the weak leader is King Joash himself.
Go to Nehemiah chapter 13. Nehemiah chapter 13. There are all kinds of examples of this in the bible. Nehemiah chapter 13. You say, "Well, why are you preaching this on Father's day?" Well, part of the reason is because fathers need to be strong leaders today in 2015. Being a father and raising your children right has to do with you being a strong leader that's going to say like Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." You have to, as a father, be willing to say no sometimes to your children, and not let them just do whatever they want, and bring in whatever they want into the home. You have to stand up and be a strong man like a Jehoiada, or like a Moses that draws the line in the sand and lays down the law in your home. That's what the bible teaches.
It says in Matthew 12, verse 29, "Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man and then he will spoil his house." That's what the devil wants to do today. He wants to tie the hands of strong men in their house, that they would not have the power to lead in their house and to be a strong leader. Today, a lot of times strong leaders are attacked and criticized. We're taught today that leaders should be weak. Pastors need to be weak, and soft, and let anything go. Fathers are supposed to be soft, and weak, and anytime a father is laying down the law on TV or in a Hollywood movie, it's always portrayed as, "Oh, he's such a tyrant. Oh man, this guy is just such a jerk. He's so overbearing." That's the message that TV and Hollywood are putting out right now just to make men think that it's virtuous to just roll over and let whatever go on, and just let their wives and children do whatever they want. That's virtuous because as soon as they start saying no to something, well, "They're just this tyrant and this big jerk," and whatever, male chauvinist or whatever.
We need to get to the bible and see here the need for strong leadership. Everything rises and falls on leadership. We need strong leaders in a nation, in a home, in a church, this is what the bible teaches. If there's not a strong leader there, the void is filled with wicked people. There are always bad people that are ready to come in and start leading people astray.
A lot of people have this foolish idea of anarchy, where they think to themselves, "Nobody should be in charge. Everybody's the boss. We're all equal." But it never works that way in real life. That's the not the world that we live in. When you attack leadership and say, "We don't need any leader." Then you're basically just inviting that evil element to come in and take over, and that's what always happens. This idea of, "Hey, we're all going to live in peace and harmony with no leader," it doesn't work that way. It's a fairy tale. The devil wants us to believe that so that we will tear down all the strong leaders, tear down the fathers in their own home, tear down husbands, tear down pastors, tear down anybody who tries to be a strong leader, and then he can come in and spoil the house as it were, as the bible says in Matthew 12.
Look down at your bible there in Nehemiah chapter 13. Nehemiah was another man who was a very strong leader. Nehemiah, he leaves for a while, and when he comes back he finds everything has just gone complete awry, and it's just like in Exodus 32 when the cats away, the mice will play. Look what it says in Nehemiah chapter 13, verse 4,
"And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah: And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests. But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king."
If you remember, Nehemiah had been the king's cup bearer, and he went to Jerusalem. He was a great, strong leader that rallied the people. They built the walls, they're worshiping the Lord, everything's going great, then the king called him home. He goes home and he has to see the king, and obviously travel in those days took longer, so he's gone for a long time. Then, as soon as the king releases him, he comes back to Jerusalem and he finds that there was a room there in the house of God that was supposed to be used ... It was a great chamber. A giant space that was used to store the meat offerings, the frankincense, the vessels, the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites. Instead of them using that big room to store those materials that were supposed to be given to the Levites that feed them and take care of them, basically he finds this guy Tobiah is living there because the priest was the weak leader in this story. He's the Aaron of this story. He's the Joash of this story. The weak leader that gives into the people around him.
Tobiah had already tried this earlier in the book of Nehemiah with Nehemiah himself. He tried to ally himself with Nehemiah and say, "Hey, I'm with you. I'm one of you." And he says, "No, you're not one of us. You have no part here. Get out of here!" Tobiah was a wicked person, and so Nehemiah told him to hit the road. When Nehemiah's gone, he comes back and tries it with this weak leader, and he moves in to the point where he's dwelling literally in this chamber where these things were supposed to be laid for the work of God's house.
Look what it says happened when Nehemiah, the strong leader, gets back in verse 7, "And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. And it grieved me sore." watch how he handles it. "Therefore I cast forth all the household stuff to Tobiah out of the chamber." He goes in there and he sees all this stuff and he's like, "What's going on? Where's the tithes? Where's the wheat? Where's the oil? Where's all the stuff for the Levites?" He sees it's just a bed, a ... He sees all the household stuff of Tobiah. "Oh, well, you know. Tobiah lives here now." No, he doesn't. He just started grabbing his household stuff, he's grabbing drawers of stuff and just throwing it out the front door. Grabbing clothes, grabbing the bed, throwing it out, and it was moving day. He just throws it all out. Just throws it all out on the curb. "Get this stuff out of here! It doesn't belong here!"
Then it says in verse number 8, after he cast out the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber, "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." Basically, the people who are supposed to be working in God's house as a full time servant of the Lord, the Levites, the singers and everybody, they basically were no longer getting paid. Right? The room where the stuff was supposed to be stored wasn't even being used for that anymore. They're not getting paid so they'd all fled to their field because they have to do something to put food on the table. Basically, they've gone back to their own secular jobs of just going out and making a living, and the house of God is forsaken. They had to go back to their fields and try to just put food on the table.
It says in verse 11, "Then contended I with the rulers," these are the weak leaders that were in place while he was gone. He contended with the rulers and said,
"Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries. And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren. Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof. In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath."
This is in the Old Testament. They're not supposed to be doing any work on the sabbath. They weren't supposed to be buying or selling. He gets there and it's just going on. They're just doing it anyway, and so he's rebuking them. It says in verse 18 ... I'm sorry, verse 19, "And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath."
Basically, what's happening is they're coming and selling all kinds of stuff on the sabbath in the land of Judah. He tells them no, they're not listening, so he just locks up the gates on the sabbath and doesn't let them come in. Then they're just kind of showing up on the sabbath and just camping outside like people who are waiting for Best Buy to open or something on Black Friday. They're just kind of camped out waiting to get in, they're there the whole day. He says, "Look, I don't even want you guys camped out here. You do this again, I'm going to come lay hands on you. Get out of here. Don't even sit out here and wait to try to come in and do this." Why? Because he doesn't want them to be in the habit of coming because he knows as soon as he's gone, what are they going to do? Swing wide open the gates, they're all going to come in and do it. He says, "Look, you guys need to get out of here. I'm going to lay hands on you. I don't want you to come anymore on the sabbath."
Verse 22, "And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy. In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab." Ashdod is of the Philistines. Ammon and Moab are other nations that were wicked nations worshiping false gods, et cetera.
It says, "And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives? And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite," this is another one of their enemies. Tobiah and Sanballat were two of them.
"Therefore I chased him from me. Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites. Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business; And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the first fruits. Remember me, O my God, for good."
Flip back to chapter five in the book of Nehemiah. We see here that Nehemiah, he's gone for a while, and everything just goes to hell in a hand basket while he's gone. He has to come back and clean house and straighten things out. Everything's messed up. The house of God is not being served, and then you've got the enemy who is just literally set up shop in God's house. He's living in the courts of the house of God, in the treasury of God's house. That's where he lives. This is what's happening today in America. The enemy has even come into the house of God and basically infiltrated, and there's no Nehemiah chasing him out saying, "Get out of here! You don't belong here! You're wicked!" We need a generation of Moses. We need a generation of Nehemiahs. We need a generation of Jehoiada the prophets, people who will be a strong leader, who will clean house, who will say no and won't just give in to everybody who comes and makes obeisance to them, everybody who comes and wants to just get along with everybody. No. That's the purpose of a strong leader, to say no.
In a home, children don't have the discernment to say no to that which is wrong, that's why mom and dad have to do it for them. If you think about it, a child who is offered any kind of candy, ice cream, junk food, they're always going to say yes. They're always going to say ... Any kind of a toy, any kind of a video game, any kind of a movie, any kind of a TV show ... You're not going to see a four year old saying, "You know what? Excuse me. I don't think I should be watching this." If they're watching TV and something ungodly comes on, they're probably not going to say, "You know what? I think that this show is blasphemous towards Jesus Christ, and therefore I'm not going to watch this cartoon." Or, "I don't want to watch this sodomite promoting TV show." A little child doesn't have the discernment. They don't know their right hand from their left in the early days, and they must grow into that, so they need a parent that is going to discern and say, "This is allowed and this is not allowed."
It can't be just left up to the children to decide what they're going to eat, what they're going to drink, what they're going to watch, where they're going to go. You can't just let them run wild because the bible says, "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself causes his mother shame." There has to be that strong leadership there guiding the children, and telling them what is allowed and what is not allowed. Not just a weak leader that just sits back and says, "Oh, what are you doing? Kids these days. Kids are going to be kids." The girls want to go out dressed like a hoochie mama and a hooker and they're just, "You know, I guess this is how they dress now." The boy wants to put on the skinny jeans and look like a queer little faggot, and it's like, "Oh, you know, that's just the style now. You know? Justin Bieber is the thing now. Miley Cyrus is ... I mean, Hannah Montana." You know what? We, as parents, need to discern what our children are exposed to.
Think about it ... I don't know that much about it, but there's a show ... I've never seen the show, thank God, but there used to be, I believe, a Disney show that seemed to be just a family friendly type show called Hannah Montana. Right? Then, I guess now the star of that show is just doing all kinds of obscene things. I heard something that she's burning bibles on stage at her concert or something like that, and just blaspheming Jesus Christ, just acting all kinds of sick and abominable in filthy ways. See, that's what the devil does. He gets the kids on the show that seems pretty good, seems pretty clean, or whatever, I've never seen it, but I think it seemed like ... From what I've heard, it was a fairly harmless show to most people. That's what most people would think of it as out in the world, but yet, it's grooming your children to idolize these people who later are going to be burning the bible, blaspheming Christ, promoting sodomy, and everything else. It's the same old story over and over again where this keeps happening. It's a plan. It's an agenda.
Dads have to say, "Hey, wait a minute. I'm going to approve the entertainment in this house. I'm going to approve the clothing that my children wear. I'm going to ..." You say, "Oh, well that's so strict." Here's the thing, if dads don't lead and if moms don't lead, someone else will lead. It's not that they'll just have no leader, "Oh, they'll just do their own thing." No, they won't. There's always a leader. The leader will be the cool kids at school. The leader will be the television. The leader will be Madison Avenue and Hollywood. Someone is going to be leading them and telling them what is acceptable and what is not. In my house, it's going to be me because I'm going to use the bible to make these determinations, and I'm going to do the best I can to try to bring up my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Sometimes that means being the bad guy and saying no to things. "No, you can't wear that. No, can't have that. Can't read that. Can't watch ... No." Drawing a line of what is acceptable and what is not, and being a strong leader.
You know what? It's the same thing in the church. Somebody has to stand up in the church and be the watchdog, and basically make sure that the wrong things don't come in. There's always a Sanballat and a Tobiah just waiting to set up shop. There's always Korah, Dathan, and Abiram ready to bring in false teaching and false doctrine, and that's why the bible commands the pastor, the man of God, to be sober and to be vigilant because the adversary, the devil is a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour.
If a pastor won't take a strong stand and strong lead, do you know what will start happening? All the other versions will start coming in. There are so many churches where the pastor preaches and believes the traditional bible, the King James bible, that we've had for hundreds and hundreds of years, but yet the pews are filled with all the wrong versions. Calendars are going on the wall with the NIV, and Sunday school materials are going out with all the wrong versions, and everybody's got a different bible, and everybody's getting corrupted with this stuff. It's because there's no man standing up and saying no, this is where we draw the line. It's King James only. There's a reason why we're King James only. It's not just because we like it, it sounds cool. It does sound cool, but that's not why. Because the fact that these new versions are corrupt. They are being changed by the devil himself. They're taking out the word hell. Over and over again. More than half the times hell is remove. They're taking out the blood of Jesus Christ in many scriptures. They're adding in elements of work salvation. They're striking at the core of what we believe by attacking the deity of Jesus Christ himself. Attacking the trinity. Attacking all these teachings that are so important to what we believe, but a lot of people are just sitting back and letting it happen.
Let the false bibles come in. Let the sodomites come in. Let the effeminate boy band music come in. A lot of these churches, the music is basically becoming an effeminate boy band style music, and the pastor just kind of sits back, and he probably doesn't like it, but what can you do? Say no? Run the place? That's why the bible says that, "The elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor." Notice that word "rule." And the bible says of husbands who want to be a pastor some day, he said, "If you want to find the qualifications for a bishop," he said, "One that ruleth well his own house." Men are to rule their house. Pastors are to rule in the house of God. People will say, "Oh man, that's crazy. You're a tyrant." No, you're crazy if you think that basically every man should just do that which is right in his own eyes.
Look, I believe in freedom and liberty, but I also believe in having a strong leader. If you take freedom and liberty to the point of anarchy, you're foolish because you know what? Anarchy doesn't work. Technically, if you study the philosophies of communism and Marxism, they claim to believe in an anarchist system because they claim that once they reach their communist utopia, everybody's equal, nobody is really in charge, and everybody is just doing their own thing. You know what? It's a fraud. It's a lie. It doesn't work. Even when Jesus Christ returns and sets up his kingdom on this Earth, he's going to rule all nations with a rod of iron. He's not going to come with a wet spaghetti noodle, or a feather duster, or a loofah from the shower. He's not going to be ruling all nations with a toilet brush, my friend. He's ruling all nations with a rod of iron. It says that he'll break them in pieces like a potter's vase. He's going to dash them to pieces. He is going to rule. He's going to clean house. He's going to be the boss. He's not just going to sit back and just let whatever happen.
It's so funny. I've had so many people come in here and say, "You should just let anybody who wants to get up behind the pulpit and teach." You know what that is? That's just an invitation to every false prophet and false teacher to just come to the open mic down at Faithful Word Baptist and teach confusion. Then, everybody's confused because there's all kinds of crazy doctrine. No. Other people preach behind this pulpit, but you know what? It's not just a free-for-all open mic. It has to be people who can be trusted to teach sound doctrine. Who makes that decision? Each church is supposed to be independent and autonomous and make that decision, and each church has a leader. This doctrine is under attack today where they teach, "Oh, everybody should be in charge." This is known as the Gainsaying of Korah. This is what Korah said, "Everybody should be in charge. Everybody is the same." No they're not. No everybody should- ... You shouldn't take somebody who's a brand new believer, who just got saved two months ago, and have them teaching the word of God to the congregation. That's the blind leading the blind, friend.
The bible says that the pastor must not be a novice, meaning not new. It has to be somebody who's been at it for a while. The bible even says that the deacons ... It says, "Let these also first be proved, then let them use the office of a deacon being found blameless." It has to be someone who has been tested and tried, and go- ... You say, "Oh, this is a power trip, a dictatorship." No. You've fallen for the devil's lie that wants to attack all real leaders and teach that any strong leader is bad. That's false. We need strong leaders today. We need Nehemiahs. We need some people chased out of here sometimes. Where Nehemiah said, "I had to chase this guy from me." Sometimes people need to be chased out. It's life. You know what? Sometimes it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. Somebody who's a friend to get their hands dirty, and somebody who's afraid to raise their voice, and somebody who's afraid to tell people no just isn't cut out to be a pastor. You know what? If you're not going to be able to say no, can you even lead your home? You have to be able to sometimes tell your children no.
There's a guy in the bible, Adonijah, where it says that David, his father, had never displeased him at any time by saying no. He ended up doing stupid stuff and getting killed because nobody ever told him no. Nehemiah chapter five shows us a little bit more about this person Nehemiah. Here's the thing, just because God wants us to be a strong leader, he doesn't want us to be a self-serving leader. That's the difference between a tyrant, and a dictator, and a Godly strong leader. The Godly strong leader lays down the law, says how it is, but he's doing it basically for everybody's benefit. He wants what's best for everybody. He wants God's work to go forward and be blessed. The motive is there to do what's right by the people. It's a benevolent dictatorship, not one who basically is there to just use people to serve him and to benefit him.
Jesus said, "Whosoever is greatest among you, let him be your minister. Let him be your servant." Jesus Christ said, "Even the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many." A man in his home ... We're talking about Father's day. A man in his home is there to provide for his family, to love his family, and to lead them in the way that is a righteous path for their own good. The bible even talks about how God chastens and disciplines us for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. It's for our benefit.
In Nehemiah five, we can see about Nehemiah that he was not a self-serving leader. These leaders who allowed everything to happen, that people wanted to happen, and they're letting Tobiah move in, and just basically giving in to the demands of all the people ... They are the ones who were the self-serving leaders in the book of Nehemiah because they were the ones who were exercising the right to tax them, and to take usury of them, and to abuse their power. Nehemiah put a stop to that. Look what the bible says in Nehemiah ... I wish we could read the whole chapter, but for the sake of time we'll just start reading in verse number nine.
"Also I said, It is not good that ye do," what he's talking about there when he says it's not good that you do, he's talking about them just taking money from the people, charging them interest, taxing them, things like that. Ripping them off. By the way, charging interest is a sin. I don't care what the bank told you. According to the bible, it is sinful to charge usury, and usury means any interest. In Nehemiah five, the interest rate was 1%, and he said you need to stop. Look what it says in verse nine, "Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies? I likewise ..." Speaking of Nehemiah himself, "... and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn." He's saying, "I'm the governor here. I'm the top leader. If I wanted to I could be extracting money and corn from these people," but he said, "I pray you, let us leave off this usury. Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money," that's the 1%, "and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them."
Notice when the strong leader comes along and tells people how it is, they back down. Nehemiah backs them down, and as a result, people get to keep their money and keep their corn, and not be taxed to death and charged interest to death. It says they will restore them, "So will we do as thou sayest," halfway through verse 12, "Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise. Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD." Yeah, I'd say Amen and praise the Lord too if I got a big tax refund where all the taxes that have been charged are given back to me. Amen, praise the Lord!
"And the people did according to this promise. Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor. But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God. Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work. Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us. Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fow- ..."
He's not saying he ate this all himself. He has 150 people that he's feeding. Okay? It says ... This is about what I eat in a typical day, "One ox and six choice sheep; fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine." I don't do that part, "Yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people."
Nehemiah's looking at the people and he's saying, "Look, the bondage is heavy on these people. These people are already struggling financially. I don't need to be taking a bunch of wealth from them and getting paid a bunch of money, and buying a bunch of land, and doing all this." He says he didn't eat of the governor's bread. He didn't require the bread of the governor because the bondage was heavy upon these people. Verse 19, "Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people."
Is Nehemiah a self-serving leader that basically wants to rule with an iron fist for his own benefit and for his own aggrandizement? No. In fact, he was a benevolent leader who was taking money out of his own pocket because he was wealthy, because he's well to do. He's feeding other people. He's turning down the gifts of the governor and so forth, and he's saying, "Look, these people are struggling and starving. They need to keep their money." This guy is a benevolent leader. He is not a self-serving kind of a guy, but yet he's a strong leader. Do you see the balance there of what a Godly leader looks like?
Go to the New Testament. Go to first Corinthians chapter four. First Corinthians, chapter number four. Again, the title of the sermon is, "When the Cat is Away, the Mice Will Play." You have to be a leader today in your home. Pastors need to be a leader in their church. We need strong leadership that will guard against the enemy coming in and leading people astray. This is all throughout the bible. The Apostle Paul is constantly dealing with this with some of the churches that he had started. One of those churches was at Corinth. He started the church at Corinth. He taught them sound doctrine. He taught them the right way to run the church, but in the epistles of first and second Corinthians, he has to keep rebuking them and saying, "What are you guys doing?" And correcting all these problems and things that have crept in because of a lack of leadership while he's gone.
In first Corinthians chapter number four, beginning in verse number 15, he's trying to get their attention here. He says, "For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have you not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." He's saying, "Look, I'm the one who won you to Christ. I'm the one who got you guys saved. Why don't you listen to me?"
"Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me." Verse 17, "For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you." They think he's just bluffing because he's telling them, "Look, you guys need to straighten things out down there at the church in Corinth. I'm going to send Timotheus to try to remind you guys how things are supposed to be and straighten things out. Don't make me come down there myself." He says, "Some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power." He's saying, "These people who are talking real big when I'm gone," he said, "I'm going to come there and face those people. We'll see how tough those guys really are."
You say, "Well, why would he talk this way? I thought that all Christians are supposed to be soft, gentle hippies. What's going on? This isn't what Reverend Aldan on The Little House on the Prairie was like. Are you sure that a preacher is supposed to talk that way?" Isn't that the way we've been brainwashed today? Whenever a pastor gets up and yells, and preaches, and says, "No! We're not going to do it!" Then they just say, "Oh, man. Look at that guy. He's crazy. He's a monster. He's lost his mind. He's in the flesh." What about when the spirit of the Lord came upon Saul and he chopped up oxen and mailed them out all over and said, "This is what I'm going to do to your oxen if you don't come." Was that not the spirit of the Lord that led Saul to rally the people against the Philistines?
It says the spirit of the Lord came upon him, he hacked up a couple oxen and shipped it out, said, "Here you go, people. Here's an [inaudible 00:39:53] lesson." Why? Because of the fact that Saul was a great leader. Later he failed. Later the people talked him into stuff and he watered down, and so forth. In those first couple years, God chose Saul to be a king for a reason, folks, because he did great things in the beginning. He was a good leader. He saved the people from the floods. A lot of times we forget that because it's kind of overshadowed by his failings later in life. We forget that Saul started as a good leader. Spirit of the Lord came ... Look, are you telling me that the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost here is in the flesh? No, this is scripture. God preserved this for us as his word where the Apostle Paul is telling these people, "I'm going to find out how tough you really are when I come back to Corinth and clean house!" Anybody who talked like that today? "Oh, you're in the flesh. You're carnal." That's what they would say, wouldn't they?
They teach you that pastors all need to be soft push overs. They call it meekness, but it's really weakness. That's what they're promoting under the guise of meekness. Moses was the meekest man on the face of the Earth, the bible says. He was the meekest man there was, but he was a strong leader. He didn't put up with this garbage of just letting anything go. Too many churches are Anything Goes Baptist church. Then the enemy comes in and just runs over, [inaudible 00:41:20], over all the people who actually want to serve God and keep the doctrine pure, and keep the work right.
In this story here, in first Corinthians four, the Apostle Paul is saying these people are puffed up. They don't think I'm coming because they know that they can do whatever they want while he's gone because there's no strong leader. Why isn't there another guy that's like the Apostle Paul that took charge while he's gone? That's why he had to send Timotheus. He says, "Well, I know Timotheus is going to be a strong leader. I know he'll fight these people." Nehemiah contended with people. Paul says to Timothy, fight the good fight. It's not all about just getting along with everybody at any cost. If you try to get along with everybody all the time, bad people take over because nobody's there to tell them no, to put a stop to it.
It reminded me of when I was out [inaudible 00:42:16], and this lady told me, "Oh, I'm a Buddhist and we're the most peaceful religion. We're so non-violent." She said, "What war have the Buddhists ever started? We've never started any war." Yeah, okay. Except what about the fact that you let the communists take over your country and slaughter 100 million people. In China ... Look how many Buddhists there are in China, right? Oh, such a wonderful religion. Well, it didn't stop communism. When there were a lot of bible believing Christians in our country, the communists couldn't take over here. It's funny how they can take over where the Buddhists are, because the Buddhists will just roll over. They won't even kill a scorpion.
Think about it. My house lately has been getting infested with scorpions again. It's just because there was so much rain and everything that it really brought out the creatures in Arizona. It's not just ... It's the whole neighborhood. I was running around the park for exercise and I was just like dodging cockroaches at the park by my house on the sidewalk. The rain and everything, it's just been really weird weather this year. It's been nice weather until about a week ago. All these creatures coming out. It has brought out the scorpions at my house. Okay? Here's the thing, there are Buddhists who literally put a surgical mask over their mouth because they're afraid of accidentally breathing in a bug and killing it. They walk down the street with a broom and they sweep it out in front of them to make sure they don't step on anything and kill anyth- ... They don't want to. Just total non violence. We don't want to harm any creature. Total veganism, vegetarianism, don't even suck in a bug into your mouth.
Maybe it's good for us to suck in a bug every once in a while and get that extra nutrition and protein in there. I don't know. Maybe it's good for you. They wear a little surgical mask and sweep the floor in front of them, and they won't even kill anything. I was reading this book and this lady is talking about how this centipede ... Centipedes are really poisonous. She has this centipede in her bathroom and she wants to practice non violence, and so she's trying to get this ... It took her like an hour to get the centipede out of her house. Finally, she gets it out and throws it onto the porch, and then a Buddhist monk, a hardcore Buddhist monk literally walked up and stepped on it like ten seconds later. Just by accident, by chance. It's like, yeah this guy just sent himself back about 1,000 reincarnations by stepping on that thing without even knowing it.
The thing is, you know, "Oh, I'm non violent." Okay. I guess I should just practice non violence and just let my house be infected with scorpions. What's going to happen then? Well, my children are going to be struck by scorpions. Some of my children, in the ten years that we've lived here, have already been stung by a scorpion. Which of our children have been stung by a scorpion? Put up your hand kids. One, two, three. Three of my ... Didn't you get stung also, Judah? I know you're not one of my children, but have you been stung? Have you been stung? Yeah. Four members of my family ... Who else in Arizona has been stung by a scorpion? Only like two people out of 150 people? Wow. So, I guess just my family that they're after.
Anyway, the bottom line is, I'm not going to practice that non vi- ... I'm going to kill the scorpions before they harm my children. My son Stephen got stung by a bee, his hand swelled up. If you get stung by a scorpion, it can really be harmful to a baby or a child, so you have to kill them. I'm not going to go around and pick them up with tongs and go drop them off somewhere else. No. They're all going to be killed. They're going to be all put to fire and sword until they're all gone, until there remains none. I don't want scorpions in my house.
See, this whole non violence can be taken too far to the point where it's just like, "Oh, whatever. Oh, my neighbor is being raped and killed? Well, I don't want to mess with it. I don't have a gun. I practice non violence. I'm just going to go rock and, 'Go away please.'" You know? Little old lady next door is being robbed, and beaten, and killed, and I'm just like ... I'm sending some good energy over there. I'm going to send some good vibes her way. It's stupid! You know what? Somebody has to sometimes fight somebody or fight something or kill something. You have to kill a scorpion. I'm not saying we should kill people, except people that are executed through the proper channels. Obviously I believe in the death penalty when it comes to government, but I'm not going to kill another person.
I'm going to kill scorpions and spiders, and if somebody breaks into my house to come harm my family, then I will reach for the shotgun. I'm not going to load it up with cotton candy. You know what I mean? I'm going to load it with something that's going to kill. Not because I want to kill anybody ... You know what? I hope that I can go through my whole life without ever having to kill anyone in self defense. Nobody wants ... I mean, if you do, there's something wrong with you. If you just want to ... "Oh man, I'm going to put out some bait and make it seem like my house is a real good house to break into just so I can just try out my skills with a shotgun." That's obviously wicked to just desire to be able to have to use it.
The bottom line is though, you've got to be willing to use it when the time comes to protect your family, to protect yourself. The thing is, there are times when we have to fight, and say no, and contend with people. This thing of just wanting to get along with everybody is just an invitation for the enemy to just come in, and just take over, and abuse everyone, and just take charge, and that's not what the bible teaches.
He says in verse 18, "Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye?" What will ye is an old way of saying, "What do you want?" He's saying, "What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?" He's saying, "It's up to you. Get things straightened out down there and I'll come and love, and in the spirit of meekness. Keep going the way it's going, I'll come down there with a rod." He says in chapter five what the problem was, because that's at the end of chapter four. Then he gets into how they're just allowing fornication to run rampant in the church, that's first Corinthians five.
If you would flip over to second Corinthians 13. That's in first Corinthians. He writes them this letter in first Corinthians, and then in second Corinthians he talks about the fact that they had actually gotten things right. They'd actually fixed problems at the church, and he actually does commend them for improvements that they made and said, "Hey, you guys did a good job taking care of this," but he gives them more things that they need to work on. There's still problems that he writes them about.
He says in second Corinthians 13:1, "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare." What is he doing here? He's warning them. He's threatening them. He's saying, "Look, I'm coming for the third time and I want things to be right. You guys need to straighten things out down there." He's trying to tell the leaders of the church of Corinth, "You need to put away from among yourselves these wicked people. You need to straighten things out and fix things." They weren't always doing it.
Third John. Go to third John. This is right before the book of Revelation. Third John. Here's the thing, when we study the bible it's all about balancing all the teachings of the bible. We want to get all the teachings of the bible and bring them into balance. It's easy to become one dimensional or just to take one aspect of the bible, and just really focus on that and neglect other things. Some people will take this to an extreme of basically everything's a fight, everything's negative, everything's in your face. You know what? They're obviously missing all the scriptures on love, and meekness, and gentleness. That's part of the equation too.
There are other people that make the mistake where it's just all sweetness, light, love, gentleness, meekness, and they never want to fight anything. They never want to say no to anybody. They never want to put the smack down in the church, in their home or anywhere else. Both are wrong. You need to study the whole bible, and you need to be a Nehemiah that's loving and gentle, and cares about the people from the depths of his heart, but also throws Tobiah's junk out on the sidewalk where it belongs. You've got to do both. That's why we need ... The bible says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect," the word perfect in the bible means complete, "That man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
How are you going to be furnished unto all good works? You need the whole bible. He says in order for a pastor to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works, in order for a pastor to be ready to lead, he has to have all scripture. Otherwise it's going to be very one sided. Either too positive, too negative, whatever, he's not getting the full picture.
Look at third John. It says in verse nine ... This is John again making threats to people that he's writing the letter to, "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true."
Again, he's warning this guy Diotrephes. He's saying, "You know what? When I come I'm going to remember you, buddy. I'm going to take care of you." He is a leader that says there's good and there's evil. Demetrius is the guy you need to be listening to, and Diotrephes is the guy that you need to be staying away from. He says, "This guy's good, and this guy's evil." He's being a leader. Paul said to Titus, he said, "You need to ordain elders in every city that is lacking, that is wanting. There need to be leaders." He tells Timothy, "For this cause left I thee ..." And emphasis, "... that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine."
He says in Titus chapter one when he says, "We need elders in every city. We need pastors in every city." He says, "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision," [inaudible 00:53:35] he said, "Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake." He said, "Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith." Where does rebuke them sharply ever even come into the mind of the average Christian today in 2015? Rebuking anyone sharply is an [inaudible 00:53:55] today. "Oh, you're in the flesh. You're not filled with the spirit because you got mad." Hey, Jesus got mad, made a whip and chased people out of the temple. Was he in the spirit or not?
Again, it's a one sided view of scripture. What I'm trying to do this morning is to kind of give you the other side. Yes, be loving. Yes, be gentle. The bible says, "Fathers, provoke not your children unto anger," He said, "Fathers, provoke not your children unto wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." We as fathers, we want to love our children. Of course. It's important for us as dads to not think that we don't play an important role in our children's lives. You say, "Oh, mom will take care of the kids." We should be there to spend quality time with our children, to teach our children. We should show them love and affection, hug and kiss them, and be nice to them, and spend time with them, and take them places, but you know what? We also need to realize that we're not just their buddy, we're also their dad. We need to be that strong leader in their life. You know what? They will thank you for it later if you're a strong leader, that you kept them on the right path.
I thank God for my parents. I thank God for my dad laying down the law on many things that I would still hold to today, and being a strong leader that said no to things, and didn't just let ... Some of my friends when I was growing up, anything went. We need to get both sides of the coin, my friend, if we're going to be an effective leader. As a father, men who want to pastor some day, you need to decide if you have what it takes to be a pastor because pastoring in churches is harder than just being married or having kids. That's the warm up. Being a pastor is a difficult job and it takes a lot of leadership, and it's very hard. There have been times over the years where I've struggled and had leadership failures, where I basically let things go on that I shouldn't have let go on. I had to learn over the years what it means to be a Nehemiah and to put your foot down about things because sometimes it doesn't come naturally. You need to decide, "Hey, if I'm going to be a pastor I need to make sure that I'm able to contend."
If you're one of these people that's just like, "I just don't like any kind of confrontation. I can't handle any kind of conflict." Don't be a pastor. Do the world a favor and get a different job.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank you so much for your word, Lord, and we thank you for great men that are leaders in the bible. Moses, Nehemiah, Jesus, the Apostle Paul, the Apostle John, men like Jehoiada the priest, Lord, who laid down the law and when they were in charge, everybody was serving God. Everything was going great, and then as soon as they were gone, things fell apart, Lord. Help us to rise up as a generation of great leaders today, as men, and help there to be a great movement of pastors, and fathers, and houses, and churches that love you, and serve you, and that draw a line in the sand of what is acceptable and what is not. In Jesus' name we pray.