“12Now therefore, do not give your daughters as wives for their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons; and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.” (Ezra 9:12)
The Israelites had just returned from 70 years in Babylonian captivity. Not only did the Israelites violate God’s law (Deut 7:3-6) about marrying Gentiles while in captivity, the Israelites were still intermarrying with the Gentiles after their return. Not only were the common people doing this abomination, but the leadership of Israel were also breaking God’s law and marrying the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites of the surrounding lands. When Ezra learned of this, he was so distressed that he tore his clothes, pulled hair from his head and beard, and could no longer stand (Ezra 9:3). This was an outward expression of a grieving disturbed spirit over sin (2 Chron 34:27). Ezra saw that the people were returning to their old ways and were going to bring judgement on themselves.
So why was Ezra so upset over his people intermarrying with the Gentiles of the surrounding land? Why would God not want them to intermarry? The answer is a simple one. God set apart the seed of Abraham as His people and that was not to be mixed with other nations. God knew that if the Israelites were to intermarry with Gentiles that the spouses would bring idolatry into the next generation for sure. This principle was reaffirmed in 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” It is important to understand that this principle is not bound to marriage relationships alone. We should see this in every endeavor, every relationship, and every situation we are in.
The next time when you are evaluating a relationship or entering into a relationship or new situation whether it be personal or professional, consider the following:
1) Does this relationship or situation violate any of God’s laws?
2) Does this relationship or situation edify, encourage, or help your fellow man?
3) Does this relationship cause you to be unequally yoked such that a worldly influence draws you into disobedience to God?
4) How does this relationship or situation impact your family in both good and bad ways?
5) Do you want to be more like the person you are entering a relationship with or would you rather them be more like you?
May we pray and seek the Lord in every relationship that we are in and have a discerning spirit about us while we ask for guidance. We may live in this world but we certainly want to be of this world. We want to be set apart for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We want the world to see that we are different and that is a good thing. All glory given to God!
Fellow Bondservant in Christ - Daryl Kas