Today you should read: Ezra 9
This passage, without context, can pose a serious problem for the people of God. Was God promoting racism and bigotry for the Israelites? Sure seems like it… but that is not what was happening at all. This was about being unequally yoked. This was about making the strongest bond of life — family — weak through willingly accepting idolatry in to the home.
The “Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites” were all known for idol worship and hatred for the God of Israel. When Ezra was told, “the holy race has become polluted by these mixed marriages…”, he knew exactly what this was and what it wasn’t. It definitely wasn’t Hitler’s ideology of an Arian race. At the end of the day, it was about the fact that the Lord was being robbed of worship. Thus, Ezra led the nation in repentance.
Fast-forward to the apostle Paul’s admonition to the Corinthian church:
Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
Paul was reminding them that their highest, strongest relationships must be in and among the body of Christ. He wasn’t telling them to avoid relationships with non-Christians, or you’d have to tear out Romans 10 from your Bibles. In many ways, Ezra 9 is made clear through passages like 2 Corinthians 6.
One last thought on this. If you think God was against Gentiles (racially/ethnically non-Jews), you should read & study Jesus’ genealogy again. Or, check out this great article.
What did God teach you today? What questions do you have? How can we serve you in prayer?
By: Todd Thomas