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Bible Pathways 06/05/2003

June 5

Read Ezra 10

In Today's Reading:

Foreign wives and children

The Law of God had warned the Israelites not to permit their children to intermarry with the pagan Canaanites because they would eventually worship their idols, and this would lead to the destruction of their nation (Deuteronomy 7:3-4).

As the Israelites listened to Ezra proclaim the Word of God, they were convicted of their sins. Shechaniah, a spokesman for the offenders, admitted to Ezra that they had sinned, but now they desired to renew their covenant with God. This meant that everyone who worshiped idols must be removed from the Israelites (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 to determine if they were involved in idol worship or were worshipers of the True God of Israel (10:14). 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 pagans. This precedent had been set by Joshua when he welcomed and protected Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, who had rejected her idols and her sinful life to place her trust in the One True God of Israel. Much later, Ruth, a Moabitess, joined with Naomi, confessing that she desired to be with the people of God and worship the One True 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 (Matthew 1:5,16; Luke 3:23,32).

We are prone to underestimate the heartbreak and suffering that results from disobedience to the Word of God. The consequence of sin is much greater than anyone suspects! But those who sincerely desire to live to please the Lord will receive eternal life (Galatians 6:8).

Christ Revealed:

Through the ram (male sheep) offered for the offenses of the sons of the priests (Ezra 10:19). Christ offered himself up for the sins and offenses of all mankind (Hebrews 7:27; Acts 8:32).

Word Studies:

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.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Bible Pathway Faith Promise Supporters ·The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Henry Rogers · BPM Staff: Barbara Bivens · Country: Ecuador (13 million) in South America, crossed by the equator · Major language: Spanish · Religious freedom · 91% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and fast in secret so that only the Lord knows (Matthew 6:16-18).

Optional Reading: II Corinthians 7

Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 2:15

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