The book of Ezra concludes dramatically. The leaders make Ezra aware of a problem among the returned exiles: intermarriage with the surrounding people. This went against the law of Moses and is one of the major things that led Israel to its current state. Upon hearing this, Ezra tore his clothes. After praying to the Lord, Ezra gathered the people and they devised a plan to resolve the issue. They would examine all families who had intermarried and they would divorce and send their wives & children away so they could obey God’s commands.
While these chapters are hard to wrap your head around, the principle is clear. God is concerned with his holiness and he wants his people to live holy. The issue with intermarrying with the surrounding people is it led to sin, rebellion, and idolatry. As God brought Israel back to their homeland, he did not want them to return to their old ways. That is the reason for such drastic measures. When we are confronted with the truth of our sin we also must take drastic measures to turn from it, even if it means living with consequences of that sin. We must live with God’s holiness in view.
What lengths are you willing to go to walk in obedience to God?