More Moments About Ezra 9
The term 'holy race' (Ezra 9:2) was not a reference to a specific ethnic group, as the Jews and foreigners in today's text were all Semitic people. Rather it is a reference to the people in covenant with the Lord. As the creator of all humankind, God never intended one ethnic group to be viewed or valued as superior over another. More importantly, there is only one race, the human race, which consists of many ethnicities. (Genesis 10)
The issue was and always has been about where one's faith is placed — is it in the one true God or false gods created by the imagination of man? (Exodus 20:3) In fact, the mixed multitude of people who left Egypt with the Israelites (Exodus 12:37-38) shows God always welcomes those who worship Him. Regardless of ethnicity.
God's command not to intermarry with foreigners in the land (Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3) was because of their pagan religious practices. He knew the people who practiced these abominations (Deuteronomy 18:9-12) would cause Israel to reject Him and lead them into idolatry.
The New Testament continues this same principle as we're commanded not to be "unequally yoked with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). When choosing a spouse, we often have various criteria — income potential, physical appearance and personality to name a few. However, unity in Christ matters most. We too can be drawn away from the true God by the many gods of our day.
Major Moment: Ezra learns of deliberate sin in the community and seeks God's mercy in prayer.
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