Recognizing Sinful Relationships (Ezra 9:1 – 15)

The leaders informed Ezra that the priests and Levites had not separated themselves from the people of the nations surrounding Judah, and had intermarried with many pagan women and men.  There was an immediate reaction as this sin was confronted.  Ezra plucked out some of his hair and beard, tore his garment, and sat down astonished until evening.  He fell on his knees that evening and prayed to the Lord His God, confessing the iniquities of the people, recounting the grace of God to allow them to maintain a remnant and a peg in the house of the Lord.  He acknowledged that God had warned them not to intermarry with the pagans, and that they had sinned a sin worthy of their destruction.  His prayer ends here.

Ezra was confessing a real problem in Israel, the intermarrying of Jewish people with pagans, a religious mixing that was prohibited by God.  However, this represented a spiritual compromise brought about by this covenant relationship entered into with people of different faith.  It was pulling good, God-fearing people into wrong relationships, not just with human beings, but with idols and gods of this world.  In the same way, we must recognize the places in our own lives where we have allowed our relationships with people of differing faiths, or even no faith, to pull us away from God and into an acceptance of sinful practices and worship.  Do not allow your faith to be compromised.  Stand true, cleanse yourself, and serve God wholly!

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