Sunday, December 29, 2013
Bible References: Ezra 10:1-44; 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 7
Ezra confronted the people over their sin especially with their marriages to foreign women. Why? Because unlike Ruth, who had chosen “You God will be my God and Your people, my People”, these foreign women had brought their gods and culture into the homes of the Jewish people.
They did not live in the ‘temple’, which we today are called to live in. So Ezra had to confront the problem which took a lot of courage. God didn’t want the people to just confess their sin, He wanted them to repent. When someone confesses they say “I’ve done the wrong thing” however, unless a person repents, they will eventually repeat the sin. Repentance is about turning away from what you are doing wrong and going God’s way.
The men listed in Ezra Chapter 10 had to not only confess their sin of marriages of foreign women, but they had to divorce the women and send them and any children from that marriage away! This seems a harsh decision, but we must remember that we need to ‘divorce’ any thing that keeps us from (a) being in God’s temple, (b) takes us away from from God, (c) turns our focus, desires, and love from God and the best He wants for us.
As God called Israel to influence the world, He calls us, His people also to influence the world around us. We are standing stones (1 Peter 2:9). We are to change the culture of the nation and influence the culture. This takes courage to stand up on real life issues.
When someone does something wrong, against God’s Way, there can be massive consequences. God however does not want self-righteous people, it’s not about what we know. He wants those who are humble.
People’s lives are most precious to God. In the OT God spoke through the prophets, today God speaks through His Word in the Holy Spirit.
Are we walking God’s Way or our own way?