8/31/2022 2 Comments
God explained, through Moses, “Do not intermarry… they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you” (Deut. 7:3-4).
And of course God was right. Years later, Solomon “loved many foreign women” (1 Kings 11:1). His compromise started a Domino effect.
Israel was led astray to worship other gods in addition to Yahweh. Their spiritual devotion became so watered down they looked and lived no different than anyone else. The nation that once was a clear display of God’s might and splendor experienced drought, famine, and eventually exile.
This history explains Ezra’s extreme reaction to the report of intermarriage after returning home to Jerusalem. As a priest and student of the Torah, he immediately perceived the danger of their disobedience of God’s command.
Ezra grieved. Ezra prayed. And the Word says, “a large crowd… gathered around him” (Ezra 10:1). Together they wept over their unfaithfulness to their faithful God. But they didn’t stop at confession— they truly repented by taking action. The foreigners willing to lay aside their nation’s gods and embrace Yahweh as the one true God stayed, while everyone else was sent away.
As believers, we are chosen to live as salt in a tasteless world so that others will “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). To be salty requires that we be set apart, wholeheartedly devoted unto God’s ways— not everyone else’s.
Sadly, if we look around, we see a church that is not unlike that which Ezra saw. Like my son’s latte and the Israelites, many of us have conformed to our environment. We have intermarried with the ways of the world:
When we study God’s Word, like Ezra, we see that God takes obedience seriously; as Christ-followers, we should too. His glory should be our utmost priority in everything we say and do.
Intermarrying with the world’s ways waters down our witness.
In response, we should all stop right here and ask ourselves this question: In what ways have I become conformed to my worldly environment?
When the Holy Spirit reveals an area of disobedience, take time to grieve and confess. But, friend, don’t let it stop there— allow that grieving to move you to genuine repentance through action. Throw that addiction in the trash. Delete the app. Call a friend for accountability.
Wholehearted devotion concentrates God’s “flavor” in our lives. Make the decision to “be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands…” (1 Kings 8:61). When others “taste” your life, they will desire what’s inside, and you can share with them your not-so-secret ingredient— Jesus
Memory Verse: “And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.” 1 Kings 8:61
Devotionals by Author
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