Nehemiah 13:23-29 (ESV)
23 In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. 27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?”
28 And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.
God commanded the people not to intermarry with the pagans in the land so as not to have families that are led away from him into idolatry. In chapter 10, the people promised that they would not intermarry with the people of the land. Well, are you surprised to hear that, by chapter 13, they were once again intermarrying with the people of the land? One of the priests’ relatives was even married to a daughter of Sanballat, the ultimate bad guy in this book.
So, what does Nehemiah do? He says, “And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take oath in the name of God, saying, ‘You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves’” (Neh 13:25). How’s that for church discipline? He curses them. He beats them. He pulls out their hair.
Why is Nehemiah so harsh? King Solomon broke the nation of Israel in half because of his love of foreign women who led him into pagan religion. God commanded parents to teach their children his ways. These folks were letting false religion into their homes, and they were teaching false religion to their children. They were willingly sending their children to hell, and Nehemiah did what he had to do to show the people how serious this issue was.
What about you? Where in your household is Christianity being subverted? Parents, what are you doing that might lead your kids away from Christ? What are you doing that might show your kids that Christ is not all that important? What do you let them watch or hear that paints them a picture of a world where God is not real and does not matter? Where are you showing them that God’s laws are bendable for you?
It is crucial, absolutely crucial, that our homes, our families, our marriages are centered on the glory of God. Nehemiah’s actions against those who missed this point show us how severely God hates it when our homes are not Christ-centered. Center your family on the glory of God.