Ezra 8
Ezra 10

Ezra 9


"The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices

It is very difficult to be in the world yet not of the world.

We are very much like the Israelites, we battle day in and day out with the temptation to integrate into the culture around us.  For the Israelites God commanded then not to by telling them not to intermarry with the people in the surrounding cultures but as Ezra 9 shows us they were disobedient, starting from the leaders down.  It is difficult not to be sucked in to the culture around us.  Think about the men in Israel...for them the act of integration into the culture was intermarrying.  No big deal right except when they come across a very beautiful woman from one of the surrounding nations.  Now all he can think about is that beautiful woman and making her his wife.  He battles with being obedient to God's command but surely God didn't mean it in this context of "true love."  He focuses on the beautiful woman to the point of rationalizing away that this is ok.  He marries her and all seems well for a while till the kids come along.  Now the wife has established herself and has the run of the house and she wants to teach the kids about the worship of the gods she grew up with...you see where this goes.

Life Application
So often we give in to the struggle of keeping ourselves in the world yet not of the world.  We rationalize why in this circumstance it will be okay and what ends up happening is that we water down our walk with God and not only do we suffer but the generations that come after us suffer.  Their walks become watered down and watered down till what we are faced with is "God's people" who live in slavery.  Yet the question is..."Is there a remnant who will say enough is enough?"  We need to be like Ezra and see our compromise for what it is, sin, disobedience to God, and we need to respond in the same way...with repentance.

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