What You’ve Missed…
* Seeing as I haven’t written in forever, you’ve missed tons. But it’s 11:15 at night, and I’m trying to be out the door in the next 45 minutes, so I’ll just keep it simple.
* You missed the story of Esther, which would make a totally epic, totally over the top, totally drawn out drama film like Ben-Hur. I probably wouldn’t watch it.
* You missed that totally weird and over-sexed king from 300, who apparently was a real dude. (No word on whether he was actually a third black, a third extraterrestrial and a third bizarro freak, or if that was just Hollywood’s creative liberty.)
* You missed the Jews who started rebuilding their temple and the walls of Jerusalem. Oh, and all the Jews in captivity in Babylon were released and came home. It’s kind of a, “if you (re)build it, they will come” Field of Dreams moment. Just with way less Kevin Costner and his “acting.” Christian or not, I think we can all throw an “amen” out there for that.
Daily Reading: Nehemiah 12-13
Quick background story on Nehemiah. He was the governor of Judah for twelve years. As order is being restored to the land and Jewish people, Nehemiah is overseeing everything, and really taking point on making sure the Hebrews return to life based on God’s law. And by taking point, I mean the guy got his hands dirty putting in some serious man hours with hands on construction work. (Who knew politicians could actually do the work they talk so much about doing? I wouldn’t have believed it if it wasn’t in the Bible.)
So as the temple is coming together, and the walls of Jerusalem are cobbled back together, and life is really starting to look up, Nehemiah busts in like the Kool-Aid man (ironically enough though, he actually builds walls, rather than breaks through them) and shuts down the Jews recent party vibe.
“About the same time I realized some of the men of Judah had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab…So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land.” Nehemiah 13:23-25
He beat them and pulled their hair? That’s pretty extreme. And remember this guy held political office. Talk about the Governator…this guy wasn’t just playing a tough guy in the movies, he was a tough guy in real life. (Author’s note: It is important to mention some people would say real tough guys don’t pull hair. I say you decide. I also say, real tough guys do whatever it takes to give themselves more time to run away.)
Seriously though, Nehemiah just kind of loses it here and goes ballistic. I get that he was upset that his people had married outside of their culture, which God instructed them not to do, but, geez, to go straight into beating and torture? I mean, how is this infraction even related to hair pulling? What does it have anything to do with anything, other than Nehemiah being totally pissed? You can’t just going around as a holy man of God, beating people and ripping out handfuls of their hair. Can you?
It’s all pretty crazy when you think about it. Clearly he wasn’t afraid to REALLY get his hands dirty if you know what I mean.
So while many people may think of Nehemiah as just another nice Bible character who loved God and served him with gentle joy, I’d like to suggest he was a pretty intense dude who could seriously fly off the handle. He was also possibly the world’s most awesome combination of Sylvester Stallone (from Rocky), Arnold Schwarzenegger (from politics), and Chuck Norris (because he probably had a killer beard.)
(And as everyone knows when it comes to Chuck Norris, the term killer beard is NOT an exaggeration.)