“Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”
Ephesians 6:11–12

Today’s passage seems familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because this is the fourth mention in Nehemiah of God’s people marrying foreigners. The issue was not that foreigners were unwelcome in the nation of God’s people, but that these foreign spouses were leading the Jews away from God and encouraging them to worship other gods. 

Nehemiah had already spoken to the people about this, showing them where their idolatry would lead them. But this was a sin that was pervasive and recurring. It needed to be continually addressed, and Nehemiah’s intensity was warranted. 

This time, the grandson of the high priest (the person who went into the Most Holy Place, where the very presence of God would dwell) married the daughter of Sanballat. That’s right, the spiritual leader of God’s people did not step in and stop his grandson from marrying the daughter of the number one enemy of the Jews, the very man who tried over and over again to stop the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and discredit Nehemiah. No wonder Nehemiah rebuked the people so harshly!

It is easy to look at these events and believe they will never happen to us. Sin creeps in slowly. Our enemy is cunning, like Sanballat, trying continuously to infiltrate our hearts and lives until he finds the thing that makes us stumble over and over again. We must, like Nehemiah, quickly respond and make things right when we realize our sin or the sin of others in the body of Christ.

We are not alone in our struggle against the enemy and sin. God has given us His Word and His people to help us remain faithful to Him. We must prepare ourselves and stand firm, remembering each day that we are living in a battle and we must be prepared to fight. We must take our sins seriously and ask God to help us overcome them. He will help us. 

And, even when we fail, we have a loving, gracious, and compassionate God who is slow to anger, one who has already dealt with our sins by sending His Son to die in our place. While we will struggle with sin for as long as we live on this earth, we can rest in the fact that the battle is already won in Christ and that in heaven, we will finally be perfect.

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Melissa Fuller

Melissa Fuller

Melissa loves God’s Word and is committed to helping women fall in love with Scripture (and its author!). She has a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and served as the general editor of the NET Love God Greatly Bible and the managing editor of the CSB She Reads Truth Bible and the CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA, loves running and hiking and is currently pursuing her goal of visiting all the National Parks in the US!

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