Tag: true repentance is costly
Scripture reading for May 7th: Ezra 9-10
Have you ever been so upset with a sin or an injustice that you responded with passion and prayer? Have you ever wept and cried over sin to such a degree that you drew attention from those involved and God? Ezra the teacher of the Law of God responded with what we might call a “holy fit” when his leaders brought sin to his attention. “When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat down appalled. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles.” (Ezra 9:3-4)
The sin that set Ezra off was mixed marriage. The Israelites had just spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon and suffered in exile because of failure to obey God and give Him first place. Now upon their return to Jerusalem, some were again mixing with the peoples of the area and getting involved in idolatry. God had told them not to marry those who were not a part of Israel. (Ezra 9:10-12) God viewed this a “unfaithfulness” to Him because it invariably brought idolatry and took the family and children away from God.
Ezra’s holy fit drew a crowd and the convicting power of God and His word fell upon the exiles. They decided that they needed to repent. This repentance would involve sending away their wives and children from the mixed marriages! Most agreed to this but some resisted. (Ezra 10:11-15) One hundred eleven men were recorded as obedient to this act of repentance! What a price to pay and what a difficult thing to do to be right with God!
When we think about this today, many have not heeded this warning from God. Many never really consider the spiritual background of the person that they want to marry. Others find that they married someone who is not truly a believer and they have children with them. What should be done? First, we might follow Ezra’s example and humble ourselves and seek the Lord. Confession of sin brings God’s forgiveness. Repentance might mean renewed effort to live righteously and seek to win your spouse and lead your children to serve God. If we have not yet married, we should not marry someone or even consider someone who is not a believer! (2nd Corinthians 6:14-16)