We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons. Neh 10:30
2 Cor 6:14 exhorts us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. This reinforces the principle of Pro 13:20 – “..he who walks with wise men will be wise…“. Whoever we associate ourselves with will have their values influence ours. If our inner circle of friends are unbelievers, unwittingly, our minds will be influenced by their values, priorities, words & actions without our realisation.
Here in Neh 10:30, the principle is extended to marriage. The people of God should not be united in marriage with unbelievers. Who you choose as your life partner will determine the course of your life. Take heed!
What should you look for when seeking a life partner?
1 Pet 3:3-4 exhorts wives – “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
If this is what scriptural wives ought to be like, it means that the scriptures are directing us not to seek the external appearances, but the inner traits of character & grace in a prospective life partner. Why? Because external appearances will fade away. But character & grace are what pleases God & will last for life. These are the traits that you must find compatibility in when you seek your prospective spouse. Do read this short article from Desiring God on the 6 traits to look out for in a spouse!
Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps. Neh 12:27
This verse describes a special dedication worship service, a celebration of God’s help upon Israel in completing the re-construction of the wall of Jerusalem.
The Israelites used the occasion to acknowledge the blessing of God upon them. They expressed their joy and appreciation with singing, augmented with musical instruments. There are many differences in opinions with regard to the use of music in contemporary worship. In the context of this verse, we see that many different instruments were used for the expression of joy and appreciation to God.
The state of the heart is of utmost important when considering this matter. Appropriate use of music in worship lifts the soul to appreciate God and elevates Him. There is no “performance” involved. It is simply an expression of the heart that goes beyond what words can express in spoken sentences. The principle of 1 Cor 13:31 applies – “..therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Read also Psalm 139 & 140 regarding this subject.
“And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.” Neh 8:12
The people gathered to listen to the exposition of God’s word. And “…they understood the words that were declared to them“. What was the effect of understanding the words declared to them? They “..rejoiced greatly”. When the word of God is clearly preached and taught, they give joy to our hearts….the joy of the Lord. And there will be great rejoicing. When it is not explained clearly, the people will be dull and unfulfilled. How sad it is when we hear but cannot understand…how sad it is when the word is not clearly declared. What great joy is missed.
Yes, it is the Lord who decides whether to bless the declaration of His word. Yet, the preparation for that declaration rests with the preachers. How important it is that we should pray for the preachers! How important it is that we should pray that the hearts of the listeners may be prepared to hear. Yes, the most boring sermons can be used by the Holy Spirit to bring about a revival. But we are not called to deliver boring sermons. Because the word of God is exciting and clear. And so, we must explain it in simplicity and absolute clarity and let God use it for His purpose and glory.