Are you set apart?
In Ezra 9-10 we see God’s desire for his people to be distinct and set apart from the world. This is why Ezra is appalled when he finds out the returning exiles are intermarrying with the foreigners in the land.
Now, intermarriage in and of itself is not a problem for the people of Israel. The problem is when intermarrying leads to sin and idolatry, which was often the case for the children of Israel. Intermarriage often led to idol worship and other sinful practices that are against the Law of God. Yet, for those who forsake their false gods & worship the one true God, intermarrying is not an issue. Both Rahab and Ruth are great examples of this.
Idolatry is the very issue that led God to judge Israel and send them into captivity. Ezra did not want to see the remnant fall prey to the same sins as their fathers. So, after seeking the Lord, God gave Ezra a solution. We’re not given all the details, but the long & short of it is that these men had to confess their sins and put away their foreign wives & children.
For us, God is concerned about our holiness, just like he was with the children of Israel. He wants us to walk upright and to separate ourselves from our former manner of life. This is the focus of Peter’s words in 1 Peter 1:13-16.
Today, think on this: in what areas of your life do you need to continue pursuing holiness?