As Nehemiah continued to rid evil from the Temple of God, he encountered those who had intermarried with foreigners in violation of God’s law. Unfortunately, some of these included those from the priestly ranks.
Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. Nehemiah 13:23-24
As he had done before, Nehemiah did not hesitate to take action against this evil in the land of Judah.
I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. Nehemiah 13:25
According to Nehemiah, these people were daring God and failing to learn from their ancestral history.
Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. Nehemiah 13:26
Then he gives the rationale for taking this action against these people.
Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women? Nehemiah 13:27
But what is sad is that some in the priestly ranks also did this evil practice, which was in violation of God’s law.
One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite. And I drove him away from me. Nehemiah 13:28
This is interesting! Do you remember anything about Eliashib the high priest? At the beginning of this chapter, Nehemiah says, this priest had given Tobiah room in the house of God to store his stuff. You can see that there was a pattern of wrong doings in the life of Eliashib.
Nehemiah’s actions against this was more drastic.
Remember them, my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites. Nehemiah 13:29
Because this had defiled the house of God, Nehemiah embarked on the purification process, in addition to other necessary actions.
So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the firstfruits. Nehemiah 13:30-31
Nehemiah could not believe these people were violating God’s law yet; the Persians had not given them complete freedom. They were still under the Persian regime. It was in the previous chapters that all these exiles confess that they were slaves in their own land. Nehemiah understood that you never want to prove God wrong. He understood this was inviting more trouble for the nation.
- God is immutable: He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Because of this, we can be guaranteed His standards have not change. He is still a Holy, Just, and Righteous God. We would be wise to learn from history on how God has dealt with mankind over the centuries in the last six or so millenniums. The Apostle Paul reminds us about the importance of this history in our lives
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. I Corinthians 10:11
- One thing is clear as you read from Genesis to Revelation, you never want to try and prove God wrong. He is has never been wrong. Whatever He has said or promised has come to pass. God is the only one you can bet on and never go wrong. Because He never changes.
- Are you tempted today to do something you know it is wrong but hoping that God might not have meant what He said about its consequences? He has never been proven wrong and you are not going to be the first one to succeed. Run away! Never try to prove God wrong. You will pay a high price.
- May be you are aware of someone who is violating God’s law in your circles of friends or church. Can you be the Nehemiah in his life? Sometimes people need to hear from someone else that what they are doing is wrong and will definitely incur serious punishment from God. It is better for someone to break a relationship with you just because you told him or her the truth. Remember mankind are very funny living beings. If you do not tell them, they will eventually turn around and ask you why didn’t you warn them. Some will even say to you, “what kind of friend are you if you cannot tell me the truth”? You can the point! Go ahead and do the right thing.
- How would you apply this truth in your life?
These things happened to them as examples
Were written down as warnings for us,
The culmination of the ages has come.
I Corinthians 10:11
Take a Cue From History
NEVER TRY TO PROVE HIM WRONG!
–Pastor Shadrack Ruto