June 5, 2004
Read Ezra 10
In Today's Reading:
Foreign wives and children
The Israelites had married Canaanites. Consequently, many were worshiping their idols. The Law of God, had warned: Neither shall you make marriages with them. . . . For they will turn away your son from following Me . . . so will the anger of LORD . . . destroy you (Deuteronomy 7:3-4).
As the Israelites listened to Ezra proclaim the Word of God, they were convicted of their sins. Shechaniah, spokesman for the offenders, said to Ezra: We have trespassed against (been unfaithful to) our God, and have taken strange wives. . . . therefore let us make a covenant (agreement) with our God to put away all the (idol-worshiping) wives (Ezra 10:2-3).
One by one, each man who had married a Canaanite had to present himself with his wife and children before a court of the elders of every city, and the judges thereof (10:14) to determine if they were involved in idol worship or were worshipers of the true God of Israel. If the only consideration had been the excommunication of all Canaanite wives, it would have been a simple, immediate decision. But, something more than simple separation was being considered in their courts. There was an examination of each family to determine if the Canaanite wives had forsaken their idols and converted to the One True God of Israel. If these men had led their wives to reject their idols and worship the One True God, their wives would have become Israelites and would not have been called strange wives. This precedent had been set by Joshua when he welcomed and protected Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, who had rejected her idols and sinful life to place her trust in the One True God of Israel. Much later, Ruth, a Moabitess, joined with Naomi, confessing: Your God will be my God (Ruth 1:16). Ruth rejected her people's idols and became an Israelite. In the providence of God, both she and Rahab became a part of the genealogy of Jesus.
We are prone to underestimate the heartbreak and suffering that results from disobedience to the Word of God. The price of sin is much greater than anyone suspects! He that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (is doomed to destruction); but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:8).
Through the ram offered for the sins of the sons of the priests (Ezra 10:19). Christ offered Himself up for the sins and offenses of all mankind (Hebrews 7:27; I Corinthians 15:3; I Peter 3:18).
10:1 very sore = bitterly; 10:2 strange = foreign; 10:8 substance = property; 10:13 without = outside; 10:15 were employed about = were opposed to; 10:19 gave their hands = promised, vowed.
: Cuba (11 million) on the northern rim of the Caribbean · Major language: Spanish · Strict government surveillance of all true Christian activities · 41% Roman Catholic; 2% various spiritists; 1% Protestant
: Realize that your life is in God's hands, and ask Him to deliver you from all evil (Luke 11:4).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 7
Memory Verse for the Week: John 11:25