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October 6, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Matthew 11-12
Audio: Matthew 11-12

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Ezra 9 (ESV)

After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, saying:

“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem.

10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness. 12 Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape? 15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this.”

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Next: Ezra 10

Back: Ezra 8

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. What Shall We Say?

    In today's chapter, Ezra pours our his heart before God for the people of God (as well as the priests and Levites) "mixed itself with the peoples of the lands" (Ezra 9:2). What may seem insignificant (or even improper) by many today to forbid marriage outside of God's "holy race" God said in Deuteronomy 7:3-4, "You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly."

    This does not mean God disapproves interracial marriage today but when He was establishing Himself as God of His people (Israel) it was forbidden. 

    We may remember Moses married a Cushite woman who was an Ethiopian. R.C. Sproul says, "we can construct on Old Testament history indicates that Moses’ wife was black. We also read that his sister, Miriam, became very distressed by the fact that her brother married a Cushite. It was a racist reaction. Miriam got angry and rebuked Moses. Because of Miriam’s response, God judged Miriam and gave her leprosy. So if anything, it would seem to me that God frowns upon those who are racists."

    We need to remember that just because something is "in" the Bible does mean it would be biblical for us to apply that to our lives as Christians. There are laws, rules and statutes which were only intended Israel for that period of time. 

    While there may be principles for us to follow in some of the laws, rules and statutes, we should not automatically apply these to our lives. One principle that DOES apply today is that if we are a Christian, we are not to marry a non-Christian (and be unequally yoked together). There is no prohibition to Christians regarding marrying people of different ethnicities but we should only marry (and be in close, intimate partnerships) with other believers. 

    But when it comes to the moral law of God (the Ten Commandments), that is for all time. That never changes or expires because these commandments are a reflection of God's character which is unchanging.

    When it comes to our own rebellious hearts, what do we say when we read Scripture which confronts us? 

    What is our reaction to our sin or the sin of those around us?

    Do we grieve over sin or do we justify it and minimize it?

    Ephesians 4:25-32 "Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

  2.  "And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost." Ezra 9:2b

    This jumped out at me in today's reading, that while God's people had rebelled against God's clear commandment to not intermarry with the pagans in the land, even the "officials and chief men" had done so, and worse, had been "foremost" in their waywardness. 

    When I think of spiritual leaders who have gone astray, and especially those who are on a public stage, I know many are concerned for the people they lead. We fear that their faith would be shaken. But I believe every Christian is responsible to be mindful of his or her own obedience to God and His word, to look to Scripture for direction, to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice in us, to pray and humbly obey God even if those who are leading go astray — and in today's world, we have to be especially vigilant, when so many have public platforms on the internet.

    I'm reminded of the book of Daniel, one of my favorite books of the Bible for the illustration of the faith of a young man in exile who was willing to stand alone in obedience to God (and whose three friends joined him), even if it meant losing his life. 

     

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