Ezra 9-10: Compromise with the World is a Life Away from God

Poor Ezra. He came all the way from Babylon only to find that the exiles who had returned before him, had sinned against the Laws of Moses that he so revered. His reaction is dramatic as is the mass repentance of the sinful Jews. Let’s dig in…

Before we get into Ezra, let’s go over the Law of Moses that they broke, so you get an idea how grave the issue was…

Deuteronomy 7 – The Privilege of Holiness

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. When the Lord your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and he will quickly destroy you. This is what you must do. You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.”

Deuteronomy 7:1-6 NLT

Now let’s look at Ezra 9 and 10…

Ezra 9 – Ezra’s Prayer concerning Intermarriage

When I heard this, I tore my cloak and my shirt, pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat down utterly shocked. Ezra 10:3 NLT mage by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.
When I heard this, I tore my cloak and my shirt, pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat down utterly shocked. Ezra 10:3 NLT Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.

When these things had been done, the Jewish leaders came to me and said, “Many of the people of Israel, and even some of the priests and Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the other peoples living in the land. They have taken up the detestable practices of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. For the men of Israel have married women from these people and have taken them as wives for their sons. So the holy race has become polluted by these mixed marriages. Worse yet, the leaders and officials have led the way in this outrage.”

When I heard this, I tore my cloak and my shirt, pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat down utterly shocked. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel came and sat with me because of this outrage committed by the returned exiles. And I sat there utterly appalled until the time of the evening sacrifice.

At the time of the sacrifice, I stood up from where I had sat in mourning with my clothes torn. I fell to my knees and lifted my hands to the Lord my God. I prayed,

“O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now, we have been steeped in sin. That is why we and our kings and our priests have been at the mercy of the pagan kings of the land. We have been killed, captured, robbed, and disgraced, just as we are today.

“But now we have been given a brief moment of grace, for the Lord our God has allowed a few of us to survive as a remnant. He has given us security in this holy place. Our God has brightened our eyes and granted us some relief from our slavery. For we were slaves, but in his unfailing love our God did not abandon us in our slavery. Instead, he caused the kings of Persia to treat us favorably. He revived us so we could rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its ruins. He has given us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 “And now, O our God, what can we say after all of this? For once again we have abandoned your commands! 11 Your servants the prophets warned us when they said, ‘The land you are entering to possess is totally defiled by the detestable practices of the people living there. From one end to the other, the land is filled with corruption. 12 Don’t let your daughters marry their sons! Don’t take their daughters as wives for your sons. Don’t ever promote the peace and prosperity of those nations. If you follow these instructions, you will be strong and will enjoy the good things the land produces, and you will leave this prosperity to your children forever.’

13 “Now we are being punished because of our wickedness and our great guilt. But we have actually been punished far less than we deserve, for you, our God, have allowed some of us to survive as a remnant. 14 But even so, we are again breaking your commands and intermarrying with people who do these detestable things. Won’t your anger be enough to destroy us, so that even this little remnant no longer survives? 15 O Lord, God of Israel, you are just. We come before you in our guilt as nothing but an escaped remnant, though in such a condition none of us can stand in your presence.”

Ezra 9 NLT

Ezra 10 – The People Confess Their Sin

While Ezra prayed and made this confession, weeping and lying face down on the ground in front of the Temple of God, a very large crowd of people from Israel—men, women, and children—gathered and wept bitterly with him. Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, a descendant of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God, for we have married these pagan women of the land. But in spite of this there is hope for Israel. Let us now make a covenant with our God to divorce our pagan wives and to send them away with their children. We will follow the advice given by you and by the others who respect the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law of God. Get up, for it is your duty to tell us how to proceed in setting things straight. We are behind you, so be strong and take action.”

So Ezra stood up and demanded that the leaders of the priests and the Levites and all the people of Israel swear that they would do as Shecaniah had said. And they all swore a solemn oath. Then Ezra left the front of the Temple of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. He spent the night there without eating or drinking anything. He was still in mourning because of the unfaithfulness of the returned exiles.

Then a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the exiles should come to Jerusalem. Those who failed to come within three days would, if the leaders and elders so decided, forfeit all their property and be expelled from the assembly of the exiles.

Within three days, all the people of Judah and Benjamin had gathered in Jerusalem. This took place on December 19, and all the people were sitting in the square before the Temple of God. They were trembling both because of the seriousness of the matter and because it was raining. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood and said to them: “You have committed a terrible sin. By marrying pagan women, you have increased Israel’s guilt. 11 So now confess your sin to the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do what he demands. Separate yourselves from the people of the land and from these pagan women.”

12 Then the whole assembly raised their voices and answered, “Yes, you are right; we must do as you say!” 13 Then they added, “This isn’t something that can be done in a day or two, for many of us are involved in this extremely sinful affair. And this is the rainy season, so we cannot stay out here much longer. 14 Let our leaders act on behalf of us all. Let everyone who has a pagan wife come at a scheduled time, accompanied by the leaders and judges of his city, so that the fierce anger of our God concerning this affair may be turned away from us.”

15 Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this course of action, and they were supported by Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite.

16 So this was the plan they followed. Ezra selected leaders to represent their families, designating each of the representatives by name. On December 29, the leaders sat down to investigate the matter. 17 By March 27, the first day of the new year, they had finished dealing with all the men who had married pagan wives.

Those Guilty of Intermarriage I’ll let you read the list of names for yourself. In total, there were 120 men, from priests to gatekeepers, who sinned against God.

Abusing God’s Grace

When I read this chapter, it reminded me of a proverb…

11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
    so a fool repeats his foolishness.

Proverbs 26:11 NLT

It seems like we humans, when left on our own without consistent, strong, biblical teaching, we revert back to our foolish, sinful ways.

Had the sinful priests remembered that it was King Solomon’s intermarriages with pagan women that led to Israel’s downfall and eventual exile, all this misery would have been avoided.

Another one of the Bible studies on Ezra in the free, YouVersion Bible app tells is like it is…

It becomes very complicated when we begin to compromise with things that are not from God. Anything that goes against God’s holiness and standards will ultimately lead us away from Him. In our spiritual journey, let us not share it with “lusts/sin” to defeat God’s holiness. For if we begin to compromise with sin, it will eventually bring regret in this life. Live, by keeping the holiness of God.

To live in holiness, we need to ask God for strength because human strength is limited and we easily fall into sin. But the power of God is perfect. With God, we will be able to resist every temptation. Let us live our lives obediently to Jesus and avoid sinning.

Book of Ezra: Day 3

That’s where the precious gift of the Holy Spirit comes in. While Jesus is away in Heaven preparing a place for all His born again believers, He was not going to leave us as orphans in the world to deal with all of Satan’s temptations. No, He sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts to convict us, guide us, give us wisdom and comfort.

Professing to be Christian?

Are you one of those who say that you’re Christian, but still worship other things?

Next time you’re in church, imagine if Peter or Paul or even Jesus Himself walked in. What would they do? Tear down statues of themselves, Mary and the other saints? Grab the Eucharist from the priest’s hands and call it blasphemy? Tear down icons? Tear off priests’ fancy hats and vestments?

Or would they be pleased at the true worship of God and the preaching of the Gospel Truth.

Technically, the Emperor Constantine married the early Christian Church with paganism way back in the 4th century. That, my friend, gave Satan a foothold in the church that spread like a cancer, slowly corrupting from within. Here’s what I’m talking about…

Those are just a few.

Repentance is the Only Answer!

Repenting of your sins means simply to STOP SINNING! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life. You can’t follow Jesus without repenting.

That epic scene with all the people of Judah gathered together to hear Ezra reprimand them would make a great movie. It seems like God sent the rain to act like a huge cleansing or purification of the people.

That’s what happens when you repent and invite Jesus in to your life by surrendering your life to Him. You are cleansed, purified and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Then you show the world and yourself that you have died to your old self and are risen to a new, eternal life with Jesus Christ by being immersed in baptism.

We born-again believers — we are chosenHoly — set apart from people who call themselves “Christian“, but are really not. Sitting in a church going through religious rituals doesn’t make you a Christian, just like sitting in a bank isn’t going to make you rich.

Jesus is our Groom and we, the born-again believers are His Bride and we cannot place anything or anyone before or above HIM!

The folks as Spoken Gospel put it very nicely…

And what God began with Ezra he finished with Jesus. The presence Israel hoped would fill the temple, became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14). Like both Ezra and the Persian king expected, Jesus did not come to bring the anger our sins deserve (John 3:17). But in full knowledge of our entrenched unfaithfulness, Jesus died to save his bride and end his wrath (Romans 5:9). 

In turn, Jesus’ faithfulness to his people makes us into the faithful bride Israel never was (Ephesians 5:25-27). We are now filled with his loving presence. We are new, spotless temples. And by his powerful, loving, husbandly word we exclude all other spouses, remain faithful to our vows, and are blameless and pure before our God. 

Spoken Gospel

Pastor Sandy Adams adds a final comment…

The New Testament believer packs a power the Old Testament saint lacked. We have a new nature, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. This enables us to be the influencer, rather than the influencee.

Sandy Adams

Jesus didn’t suffer torture and die so we could have religion! He died so He could have a Personal Relationship with YOU!

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Even So Come

Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

2 thoughts on “Ezra 9-10: Compromise with the World is a Life Away from God”

  1. Pingback: Nehemiah 3-4: Beware! When Being Attacked, Pray and Give it to God – Seek the Truth

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