Airbnb, the lease-a-room phenomenon, was started by a couple of room mates in 2008. It all started because they were having a hard time paying rent. They came up with an idea to set up a few air-mattresses in their living room and see if anyone would rent a night’s stay. Along with the night’s stay, they would serve their guests breakfast. So they set up a simple website so that people could register. They soon had their first guests who paid $80 for a night’s stay on their air-mattress and a free breakfast. Not long after, Airbed and Breakfast (Airbnb) was officially launched.
Now I imagine that leasing out a room or space in your living room can be somewhat nerve racking, especially if you get a bad house guest. What if the person who leases your room is high maintenance? What if they are incredibly messy? What if they are diabolically evil and are hatching a plan to destroy your house? Okay, that was a little far-fetched. But what if? Well, if that was the case, you’d be a fool to lease them a room. Why would you lease a room out to someone who wants to ruin you?
Nehemiah 13:4-5 4 Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah, 5 and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil prescribed for the Levites, musicians and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.
Eliashib took a sacred room in the house of God and put it on Airbnb. Then he leased it to Tobiah. Tobiah! This is the guy who ridiculed Nehemiah and the Israelites who came to rebuild the wall. He opposed the very work of God in Jerusalem. He was a troublemaker and a mocker. In the story of Nehemiah, he was a bad guy. Yet, he was allowed to sublet a room in the house of God. It’s preposterous!
As ridiculous and foolish as it may sound, so many of God’s people are subletting rooms to bad guys. You see, we are called the house of God. We are to be a place that God dwells. Unfortunately, there are people that have taken their house and placed a room (or rooms) on Airbnb. And in those rooms, they are letting the devil reside; they have given space to the bad guy. When we do this, we are allowing him to make a mess of our souls. But we leave him there as we refuse to deal with our sin, our offenses, our addictions, and our pride. We give him space to roam in our hearts when we decide that the world’s way is better than God’s way.
So what do you do? Nehemiah responded this way in verses 8-9: I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.
He stepped in with the authority he had and kicked Tobiah right on out of there. That guy’s voice would not remain in the house of God any longer. His influence would not pollute worship to God. Tobiah didn’t belong in the house of God and the devil doesn’t belong in yours. So stand in the authority of Jesus today and kick him out. Ask a friend to pray with you. Deal with the bad guys that you have leased space to. Clean your house friends – you will be glad you did!