Read Ezra 10
People hunger for righteousness; confession and repentance.
And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strangewives . . . therefore . . . separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives (Ezra 10:10-11).
When Ezra arrived in Jerusalem, he discovered that the priests, Levites, and rulers had intermarried with their idolatrous neighbors — the very thing that had caused their captivity and destruction (Deut. 7:3-4).
Ezra was so moved over the sinful condition of the nation that he rent his garment, and plucked off the hair of his head and his beard. And, as he prayed, confessing the sins of the nation, there were assembled unto him everyone who trembled at the words of . . . God (Ezra 9:3-4). They weren't trembling over what Ezra was saying, but at the words of God.
The power is never in the man, but the power comes from God. Man speaking from himself can accomplish very little. However, if a person speaks under the inspiration of God, his words can move mountains. That is why it is important to read and learn the Word of God. It is through God's Word, written, prayed, or spoken, that hearts and lives are touched and changed. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in Truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (I Thess. 2:13).
Ezra recognized his nation's spiritual and moral needs because he knew God's Word. He was deeply concerned that he — as well as his people — be obedient to the Word of God. Therefore, he urged an immediate separation from their foreign wives until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us (Ezra 10:14).
Naturally, this involved much heartbreak and many tears. Everyone involved was hurt deeply, but there could be no return to God without a complete and final separation. This may seem severe, but the great sin of marrying the heathen would lead to another captivity and hinder God's promise to Abraham and David about the coming Messiah (Deut. 7:1-9).
If our lives are to be acceptable to Him, we must separate ourselves from the sins of the world. We were created to glorify Him, and we exalt Him as we obey Him and do His will. God hath said, I will dwell in them . . . My people (II Cor. 6:16).
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing (II Cor. 6:17).
Thought for Today:
Self-denial may at times be difficult, but the outcome brings joy and peace.
Through the ram (male sheep) that was offered for the offenses of the sons of the priests (Ezra 10:19). Christ offered Himself for the sins and offenses of all mankind. He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25).
10:1 wept very sore, wept bitterly; 10:2 strange, foreign; 10:8 substance, property; 10:13 without, outside in the rain; 10:15 were employed about, were opposed to; 10:19 gave their hands, promised, vowed.
Pray for Staff: Dan Murton • Country: Greenland (60,000) northeast of Canada • Major languages: Eskimo dialects and Danish • Religious freedom • 98% Protestant; .1% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and then obediently do what God says (I Chr. 14:14-16).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 7
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 1:1-2