In Nehemiah 13, Nehemiah finds that the Israelites are still surrounding themselves with foreigners and involved with intermarriage. This was something that God spoke against many times in the Bible. Today, people seem to not grasp what this means, and take it as something of discrimination. The truth is, intermarriage, has nothing to do with race, but everything to do with Who you worship. When we look at the concept of intermarriage today, we look at it as a relationship between believers and non-believers.
The Bible tells us that if we are involved in a relationship with a non-believer (someone who does not believe in God as the One True God), then we the believer, may be led astray. The Bible warns us to therefore not become seriously involved with a non-believer so we do not tread on this unsteady ground. For us, this means we as Christians should not date or marry someone who is not a Christian. Even if we have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ, if we marry or date someone who is not a Christian, we could be in danger of being derailed from our walk. As a Christian, we should not even desire to be seeking someone who is not seeking Jesus first.
I speak of this from a personal perspective. I have been there and have done that—and it was a road that was certainly off course, but thankfully God has used it for His glory. In my case, it wasn’t a matter of someone not professing Jesus, but someone not living for Jesus. We do not simply need to look for someone who has the lip confession, but the life confession. There’s a difference. In Nehemiah 13, we see that Nehemiah mentions Solomon to the people. King Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. He succumbed to being led astray by foreign relationships. Nehemiah basically asks the people why they think they could be wiser than him. Today, understand the importance of a good, godly relationship. If you are not yet married, remember that there is a proper way. God must be first in your life. Then when the time is proper, the one you seek should be seeking God first, even before you. That is the relationship that will be blessed and honored. May you find the one, who first seeks the One.
“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.” – Nehemiah 13:26 [ESV]
As we run with Jesus, we continue to build godly relationships.
Godly living starts at home. If you aren’t living godly at home, you won’t succeed in godly living outside of the home.
Paul speaks about the importance of godly relationships in numerous letters.
- Husbands & wives
- Parents & children
- Masters & slaves
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
– Ephesians 5:21 [NIV]
- 18 – Wife put your husband first
- 19 – Husband love wife
- 20 – Children obey parents
- 21 – Parents don’t be hard on children
Husband and Wife (Colossians 3:18-19, Ephesians 5:22-33)
Loving leadership equals mutual respect – Ephesians 5:21
Husband sacrifices (Christ like sacrificial leadership by husband will keep the ultimate good of his wife in view at all times)
Wife submits (honors & affirms his leadership, helps him exercise role in family)
He loves her. He wants the best for her. She knows this and she submits.
- Wife does not practice absolute surrender – that is only to Jesus.
- Wife is not naturally or spiritually inferior
Parents and Children (Colossians 3:20-21, Ephesians 6:1-4)
- Children obey parents in everything as it pleases the Lord
- Parents don’t provoke less they become discouraged and give up
- Parents parent with firm loving guidance – not dictatorship
- Parents encourage – children obey
Bible Study Questions:
1) Read Ephesians 5:31-33.
What does verse 31 say husbands should hold fast to?
Verse 33 says that the man shall ________ the wife and the wife shall __________ the husband. What does this passage mean?
Which command is harder or are they both equal?
2) The Bible says that the man is to love his wife and the woman is to honor her husband. How does love and honor go hand in hand?
3) Regarding parent child relationships, both have responsibilities. Parents are called to ____________ their children. Children are to _______ their parents.
4) How does encouragement and obedience go hand-in-hand?