01
Sep
11

A Severe Remedy – Part 1

In Ezra 9, we read how the prophet Ezra is informed that the people have sinned by intermarrying with surrounding nations.  Recall that God warned the people against this practice in Deuteronomy 7:3-4, because the worship of the Lord would be diluted by foreign gods and practices.

When he is informed of this sin, Ezra is stunned, tears his cloak, and sits for several hours contemplating the issue.  Indeed, he is not sure what to do:

“But now, O our God, what can we say after this? For we have disregarded the commands you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other.  Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.’

“What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved and have given us a remnant like this.  Shall we again break your commands and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor?  O LORD, God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.”  — Ezra 9:10-15

If we were in Ezra’s place, what would we do?  Is there a single, correct solution?  To be continued…

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