23 Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24 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. 25 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. 26 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. 27 Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?” – Neh 13
Wow. Nehemiah is not some weakling leader. The men had blatantly disobeyed God and married foreign wives, so he beat them up. He even pulled out their hair. Can you imagine the conversation of the day?
“Hey, did you hear about Nehemiah.”
“You mean THE Nehemiah, the one who headed up rebuilding the wall?”
“Yep. Came and beat some guys senseless today.”
“You mean some enemies of Israel? Good for him. They deserve it.”
“Nope, beat up some Israelite men. Even pulled out their hair”
“What? Why? Did they start tearing down the wall or something?”
“Nope, he said it was because they disobeyed God and married foreign wives.”
“Oh. Gotta go.”
“Where you off to?”
“Um . . . home.”
Talk about passion. Talk about Zeal. This guy was ape for the kingdom. A wall for God’s people needs rebuilt? I will do it. Somebody disobeying God? I’ll put the smackdown on them. He was the Chuck Norris of the day. I can imagine people were straightening up. God was working thru the fists of Nehemiah.
I admire the passion and zeal of Nehemiah. If you offended his God, you offended him. I like that. I wish I was more like that. I wish that sin made me more disgusted than it does.
God, grant me the passion and zeal of Nehemiah. Not for my own sake or my own cause, but for yours. When things twist your heart, may they twist mine as well. And may I only punch in your name.