Prior to this, Eliashib the priest had been assigned to the storerooms of our God's house. He was close to Tobiah, and he had given him a huge room that had previously been used to store grain offerings, incense, and temple objects, as well as the Levites', singers', and gatekeepers' tithes of grain, new wine, and oil, as well as the priests' contributions.
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Nehemiah introduces us to the compromise that was taking place within Israel in this book. They reneged on every promise they made in Chapter 10. It's no surprise that when he began listing their sins, he began with Israel's leadership. By permitting an Ammonite official into the temple, the High Priest was disobeying God (cf. Neh 2:10, 13:1). Tobiah, who had previously tormented the Jews, had been given a place in God's house.
This is how moral compromise in the Church of God frequently beginswith the leadership. By disobedience and disrespect for the precepts of God's Word, the leadership begins to compromise, which eventually affects all of the people. Have we not seen the consequences of bad leadership all over the Bible?
Question for Interpretation: How have we seen the harmful consequences of bad leadership throughout Scripture?
Solomon broke the rule by marrying pagan women, and as a result, the entire nation of Israel was led astray into idol worship. The book of Kings reveals a pattern of Israel's miscalculations. They would have a good monarch and, as a result, would begin to obey God. Then they'd have a bad king and, as a result, stray away from him. There was a Jereboam, Jehu, and Ahab for every Josiah, Asa, and Jehoshophat, the wicked kings of Israel who led the nation astray.
Not only the rulers, but even the priests, were corrupt throughout this time period. In reality, God admonished the priests through the prophet Hosea just before Assyria condemned Israel. 6 Take a look at what he said:
The more priests there were, the more they rebelled against me; they traded their glory for something unworthy. They thrive on my people's misdeeds and delight in their evil. And it will be: priests, priests, priests, priests, priests, priests, priests, priests, priests I will punish them both for their actions and compensate them for their wrongdoings.
The priests, like the populace, were committing sins. In reality, they took pleasure in the people's misdeeds and profited from them. God promised that he would punish both the priests and the people for their pact.
Typically, theological and moral compromises among church or ministry leadership precede people going astray. Indeed, when Christ appeared in the Gospels, Israel was ruled by the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were distorting Scripture's teachings and leading people astray. Christ spent a great amount of time throughout the Gospels criticizing and rebuking the people's leadership.
Think about what Christ said: “A pupil is not superior to his instructor, and a servant is not superior to his master. It is sufficient for a pupil to imitate his teacher, and for a servant to imitate his master” (Matthew 10:24-25). People can only go as far as their leaders. The church's ceiling is set by its authorities.
When we consider the state of our churches, we must remember that it is frequently a mirror of their leaders. It's no surprise that the light in the church is so dim when we have leadership that doesn't preach the Word, leadership that isn't on fire for God, and leadership that doesn't run their household correctly.
In a similar way, Paul described the church in the end days. He predicted that the church would be unable to tolerate sound doctrine and would thus assemble a large number of professors to scratch their ears and say anything they wanted to hear (2 Tim 4:3-4).
What was the High Priest's motivation for compromising? What are some of the possible causes?
1. He might have held liberal beliefs.
Despite the fact that they had just heard that Moabites and Ammonites were not permitted to enter the temple (cf. Neh 13:1), he may have considered the Scripture was out of date, full of errors, and irrelevant. Perhaps he didn't believe God was the creator of the universe “He could pick and choose what was of God because he had access to “every” piece of Scripture. We see this in many churches today, and instead of submitting to the Word of God, they judge it. They believe they have the authority to decide what God said and did not say. They claim, “The earth was formed by the evolutionary process, not by God, as stated in Genesis.” “A whale didn't truly swallow Jonah.” “Jesus did not, in fact, change water into wine.” They pick what is of God and what is not of God, and hence what they will not subject to.
Eliashib may have rebelled because to his philosophy, which would have had a bad impact on the people.
2. He might have been a people-pleaser, meaning he preferred people's approval before God's.
It's possible that the Israelites were pleading with him to be more liberal and to stop being so narrow-minded. We'll discover later in this chapter that many of the individuals married foreigners, and their children couldn't communicate in Hebrew (v. 23-24). Perhaps he wouldn't defend God.
As previously stated, Paul predicted that this would occur in the closing days. Many teachers would be heaped up to itch their ears and make them feel nice. For fear of losing their employment, status, or numbers in the church, many ministers will not preach firm doctrine or hold the church accountable. Today's church has many leaders who are “men of men” rather than “men of God.”
3. Perhaps he was just a hypocrite.
He may have preached the truth, but he did not live it in the temple. He would have been a hypocritical leader in that circumstances.
Whatever the reason, his acts undoubtedly led to the people's misdeeds. Looking at the rest of the text, we can see that the people are also living in a state of enormous compromise. We see this happening all around us, including among priests and people, and as a result, degradation has crept into many of our churches.
Church leaders must consider the following questions: “Are we leading by example?” says the narrator. 1 Peter 5:3; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Peter 5:5; 1 The spiritual ceiling for the congregation is set by the leaders. It is sufficient for a pupil to imitate his or her teacher. How can they expect the congregation to grow in enthusiasm for Christ if the pastor, elders, and instructors are no longer growing in zeal for Christ? How can they expect the congregation to improve in their knowledge of Scripture if the church leadership isn't doing so? The congregation's ceiling and direction are set by the leadership.
Let this serve as a reminder to us as we serve in positions of leadership to never lack zeal or obedience, and to constantly be abounding in the Lord's work (cf. 1 Cor 15:58). But let this also serve as a reminder to pray for the leadership of our local church and churches around the world on a daily basis. It is sufficient for a disciple to imitate his or her instructor.
Question for Application: How have you witnessed both the positive and bad consequences of church leadership? What can the church do to better support its leaders so that they can continue to grow in the Lord?
What does spiritual decline mean?
Then we looked to see if spiritual growth, spiritual decline, and meaning-making could moderate the link between religious difficulty, anxiety, and life satisfaction. People who try to understand their struggle and whose difficulty is a source of positive changes in their world view, relationships, and aspirations or sense of self are more satisfied with life and have less anxiety, according to the theory (spiritual growth). Anxiety rises and life satisfaction falls when struggle leads to unfavorable changes in an individual's world view, connections with others, or life goals (spiritual decline).
For four types of struggle, we discovered that the mediation impact was significant: demonic, moral, interpersonal, and theological doubt. Spiritual progress and spiritual decline were important mediators in demonic and moral conflict. As we expected, demonic and moral problems can lead to increased life satisfaction, but spiritual decline can lead to increased anxiety. Spiritual decline was found to be a key factor in the link between interpersonal conflict, anxiety, and life happiness.
We conclude that the impact of moral conflict on anxiety and life satisfaction is determined by how moral pressures are addressed. When people are confronted with moral defects and personality weaknesses (religious struggle), noticing good changes in self-perception, viewing the world, and perceiving others increases their contentment with life. Moral conflicts, on the other hand, cause anxiety since they lead to unfavorable alterations in self-image and view of the world. Some psychological theories (e.g., Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development or Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development) emphasize the role of moral conflicts as a transitional stage that can lead to both regression and maturation, as well as a higher quality of life (e.g., Erikson 1968; Kohlberg 1976).
Strengths and Limitations of the Study
The study's primary flaw is its cross-sectional design, which precludes any inferences on causeeffect relationships. The interpretation strategy used in this work is based on theoretical assumptions. Longitudinal research are needed to determine the health and well-being effects of religious conflicts. Because the study relied on people's self-reports, there was no way to control for response bias. It's possible that the findings are influenced by social desirability. However, the fact that respondents completed the measures anonymously and were questioned about positive and negative results may mitigate this potential. They wouldn't have supported negative outcomes if they were aiming to present themselves in a favorable way, right? Regardless, studies in the future should include scales that assess social desirability, and if required, control for it. We also assumed that the survey instruments' performance characteristics were unaffected by their translation into Polish.
What is spiritual emptiness?
Spiritual emptiness was a major problem in the educated European middle class, according to Austrian philosopher/educator Rudolf Steiner (18611925). He claimed that European culture had become “empty of spirit” and “ignorant of the demands, the conditions, that are required for the life of the spirit” in his 1919 lectures. Due to the “absence of will from the life of thought,” people experienced a “spiritual emptiness” and their thinking became distinguished by a “lazy passivity.” People would “let their thoughts to take hold of them” in modern Europe, according to Steiner, and these thoughts would increasingly be filled with abstraction and “pure, natural scientific thinking.” The educated middle classes began to think in a “devoid of spirit” manner, with their thoughts getting “dimmer and darker,” and their spirits becoming increasingly empty.
According to Louis Dupré, a Yale University philosophy professor, the “spiritual emptiness of our day is a sign of its religious poverty.” Many people, he claims, “never experience any emptiness: they are too busy to feel much absence of any kind”; they only realize their spiritual emptiness when “painful personal experiences the death of a loved one, the breakdown of a marriage, the alienation of a child, the failure of a business” shock them into reassessing their sense of meaning.
Juvenile violence has been linked to spiritual emptiness. In his 1999 book How Juvenile Violence Begins: Spiritual Emptiness, John C. Thomas claims that kids in impoverished indigenous communities who are feeling meaningless may turn to fighting and aggressive crime to fill their void. In his 1999 book Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them, Cornell University professor James Garbarino believes that “neglect, humiliation, spiritual emptiness, alienation, anger, and access to guns are a few of the factors common to violent boys.” According to Garbarino, a professor of human development, violent males have “alienation from positive role models” and “a spiritual vacuum that fosters hopelessness.” The violent fantasy of American gun culture seduces these children, providing negative role models of tough, aggressive males who use power to obtain what they want. He thinks that giving boys a “feeling of purpose” and “spiritual anchors” that can “anchor boys in empathy and socially engaged moral thought” can benefit them.
Addiction is frequently linked to spiritual emptiness, particularly by Christian-influenced addiction organizations and counsellors. One of the effects of alcoholism, according to Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, is that heavy drinkers experience a spiritual emptiness. In his book Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-Deception, published in 1997, Abraham J. Twerski contends that when people are spiritually empty, they typically turn to addictive activities to fill the emptiness. Unlike an empty stomach, which is a distinct sensation, spiritual emptiness is difficult to pinpoint, leaving persons with a feeling of “vague disquiet.” While some people try to fill the void by excessively having sex, overeating, or abusing drugs or alcohol, these habits only provide brief relief. When a person in crisis because of spiritual emptiness is able to stop one addiction, such as obsessive sex, they frequently replace it with another, such as gambling or overeating.
What are the signs of lack of spiritual growth?
Knowing and comprehending the need for spiritual growth is the first step. However, you will not work in that direction if you do not feel the need to improve. As a result, the first and most obvious indicator is that you don't feel compelled to progress. (You might also be interested in: How to Detox Your Soul.)
We are all aware that our lives are full with stress and distractions. Therefore, if you are continually stressed or busy, you will not have time to grow spiritually or experience spiritual growth. (Also see: What are some daily routines that can help you develop inner serenity.)
Occasionally, you may experience a spiritual disconnect as a result of an event in your life. This prevents you from exploring your spiritual side, and you miss out on spiritual growth as a result. (Also see: How God Communicates With Us During Difficult Times)
Many people are influenced by negative forces in society and engage in heinous behavior. Your mental process is defined by your firm, thus if your company is awful, you are not spiritually progressing. (See also: Does spirituality have a place in today's fast-paced world?)
Spiritual connection entails letting go of your attachment to the material world. If you have such an addiction, it signifies you are not spiritually progressing.
What does spiritual stagnation mean?
I'm not sure I'd be able to tell you what it is, but I know what it is when I see it. I've seen it in folks who, although going to church, have ceased gathering with other believers on a regular basis. They simply aren't a member of the group, don't participate, and remain stagnant.
I've seen people who have just given up attempting to learn stagnate. They either believe they know everything or simply do not want to learn more. People seek the mountain top experience and fail to appreciate the simple day-to-day growth, which eventually aggregates higher than any single event since day-to-day learning never ends.
It occurs when people believe that there are more essential things to do than participate in God's church. Many parents believe that having their child participate in a Sunday sport is more important, even if it will only endure till they are a teenager or graduate high school, whereas learning to be with God will last for the rest of their lives.
It can happen when people are confronted with an issue and simply give up because they are overwhelmed. But they always come to a halt.
Most essential, we must realize that God is trying to keep us alive and flourishing through his Holy Spirit. We grow as a result of the time we spend in his word as he educates us. We develop and mature as we follow him to those moments with other believers where we share together, learning that faith isn't just about us, but also about others. We grow as God leads us to practice the art of loving others via our hands-on work. The main thing is to understand what stagnation is and how to avoid it.
There are two types of death in the Christian faith. One type will result in death. The other form of death results in rebirth.
When the Apostle Paul said, “… if by the Spirit you put to die the crimes of the body, you will live,” he was referring to the dying that leads to life (Romans 8:13). Sin death produces life!
When Jesus spoke of his own death and the spiritual community that would develop from his resurrection, he used the phrase “death that leads to life.” “A grain of wheat will remain a single seed unless it falls into the ground and ‘dies.'” If it dies, however, it generates a large number of seeds” (John 12:21).
The form of dying that leads to death is spiritual stagnation. The prophet Zephaniah described spiritually comfortable people as being like stale wine, indifferent to God and unmoved by pain (Zephaniah 1:12). Spiritual vitality is restored through purposeful rest and recovery, yet spiritual stagnation occurs when a person is lazy, disinterested, or purposeless. The spiritually stagnant, according to Zephaniah, are people who don't care because they believe God doesn't care.
When water collects and stops moving, it becomes stagnant. When people isolate themselves from God and stop responding to the needs of others, they become stagnant.
Spiritual self-absorption leads to spiritual stagnation. It results from no longer being moved by the pain of others. A selfish individual is suffocating himself. Action suffocates inaction. That's when spiritual disease and decay begin.
When I was in college, I had a profound, life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for several wonderful men who came beside me and taught me to never “pool,” but to keep flowing closer to the God whose image mankind wears.
How do I fill my spiritual emptiness?
When I don't allow myself to experience my emotions – both good and negative and when I'm spiritually disconnected, I feel empty. However, the source of your emptiness could be very different.
Consider the reasons of emptiness listed above for a few moments. Consider the following questions: “Examine each of the points to see why you're feeling empty. Which one speaks to you the most? Keep in mind that you could be feeling empty for any of the three causes.
You could be wondering what to do now “Okay, I'm feeling a little empty… but what's the solution?”
Establish your own spiritual practice
Connecting with your spirit isn't a one-time, fanciful experience. It's a serious thing to do. It is a lifelong commitment that should be made on a daily basis. To enjoy the best rewards, you must make an effort to introspect and gaze inwards every day. And when I say benefits, I'm referring to everything from minor perks to paradigm-shifting, mind-blowing mystical encounters.
This website is chock-full of ideas for connecting with your soul, but here's a good place to start. Dream work, shadow work, inner child work, journaling, the I Ching and oracle/tarot cards, self-love, meditation, spirit guide contact, and prayer are all part of my present spiritual practice (but my practice often morphs and changes).
I recommend that you begin by trying with various practices that you are comfortable with. This could include anything from traditional spiritual activities to more esoteric ones. The essential point is that you should investigate how “soul” feels. If you're in severe need of this connection, I propose locating an authentic/trustworthy shaman in your area (or abroad) who can lead you on a spirit quest using plant medicine. Sacred doorways into the realm of soul and spirit can be found in plants like psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, san pedro, and ayahuasca.
Seek relentlessly for self-fulfillment
Begin looking for things that will complete you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. This will necessitate you looking inwardly and potentially disregarding everything everyone has ever told you about who you “should” be.
Self-fulfillment is entirely personal, and it is up to you to find it. It won't be served to you on a silver platter. You must discover what ignites your soul and makes your heart sing. You must take the steps, set the goals, and put out the effort because otherwise, you will feel empty and unfulfilled.
Keep in mind that your fate is in your control. You will most likely feel lot better if you begin to take a proactive approach to your life.
Allow and embrace your emotions
Feeling our emotions and actively accepting them goes against everything we've been taught since we were children.
Because of their terrible force, emotions like rage and sadness are rejected and dreaded in particular. Sports, alcohol binges, workaholism, or relationship problems are common ways for such feelings to be buried and vented.
Catharsis is a strong and healthy means of letting your emotions out. When done in a secure and private setting, catharsis is extremely empowering. Catharsis can take many forms, including vigorous exercise, yelling, dancing, laughing, and crying. Because I suffer with buried sadness and wrath, I enjoy sobbing and punching catharsis.
Art therapy and journaling are two more passive kinds of catharsis (check out our self-love journal.) In my book “Awakened Empath,” I also discuss a technique known as SOAR, which allows you to feel and regulate strong emotions. (Some instances of SOAR in action can be found on our YouTube channel.)
Our emotions are not here to be “fixed” or “treated,” as I must emphasize. You will never be able to be free of wrath, envy, or grief for the rest of your life. These feelings are natural and part of the human condition. We can learn to let them flow through us without grasping at them or dramatizing them. Feeling empty will no longer be an issue for you once all emotions are allowed to dance through you, for life will become lively again.
Create your own support network
You're a fascinating creature. This is a unique combination. You're capable of both lovely dreams and terrifying horrors. You feel lost, shut off, and alone, but you aren't. After all, the only thing we've discovered that makes the nothingness bearable is each other.
We are not islands, no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves differently. We are born with the desire to interact with others. To be emotionally and psychologically healthy, we require some form of social contact, care, and support.
Seeking out others is one of the most effective strategies to stop feeling empty. Seek out others who share your feelings and/or are dealing with comparable issues. Recognizing that much of what you're going through is a shared human experience has the ability to relieve you of a lot of pain.
There are always support groups online if you don't have somebody in your life right now. You can also go through your local community publication to see if there are any communities you might be interested in joining. If you really need someone to hold space for you, there are free assistance networks like 7cups online, or you might seek out to a therapist/counselor.
Create a solid sense of self
This may sound strange, but I believe that having a low self-esteem can both cause and result in feeling empty.
We drift through life without a stable ego, tossed here and there with no sense of firmness or wholeness. It is critical that we all have a solid ego since we cannot function properly in this world without it.
As a result, having a shaky sense of self is akin to being a vagrant with nowhere to go and feeling empty is a common result. In terms of psychology, we must emulate the lowly snail, which carries its shell (ego) about as a form of protection and shelter.
In the past, I've written more about how to build a stronger sense of self (you can explore that more in-depth if you like). But, for the time being, here are some ideas:
What does spiritual dryness feel like?
Spiritual dryness or desolation in Catholic spirituality refers to a lack of spiritual comfort in one's spiritual life. It's a type of spiritual crisis that manifests itself subjectively as a sense of being cut off from God or a lack of spiritual emotion, particularly during contemplative meditation.
How do I know I'm growing spiritually?
There are signals to look for while aligning yourself with God's will to ensure you're spiritually growing.
Spiritual growth is required for us to fulfill the destiny and purpose that God has planned for us. But how do we know if we're spiritually developing? How do we know if we're becoming more like Christ?
Although the bible does not provide a checklist for us to use in order to track our spiritual growth and that of others, the Holy Spirit aids us in connecting the passages.
Here are eight markers to look for to gauge your spiritual growth, based on the life of Jesus.