To get a further understanding of what God was preparing, one must turn to the prophecies of the Minor Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. They remind us of the promised kingdom to David, still yet to come. God has in no way revoked or forgotten His promise.
There is a dark side to the book of Ezra when we read it. One cannot simply skim over the account of the intermarriage that had taken place with the pagan nations before this exodus that resulted in idolatry. The greatest problem at hand in this book was that this intermingling of lineage was a spiritual thorn working to break the pure lineage to void God’s promise of the Davidic kingship. But what was to be done? The intermarriages had taken place; children had been born. And God hates divorce.
If anyone suffers from the scars of divorce under modern day theology and doctrine, they must look at this passage. It is incredible. The Jewish race had been polluted. Ezra made no excuse; he did not compromise. The Jews had to separate from their pagan bonds, no matter the cost.
One can only begin to imagine the conflict and trauma all the people suffered from this sin of intermingling, which God strictly forbid. But now that the nation was coming out of captivity, they had to be purified. While we struggle through this idea of divorce and separation, of men saying good-bye forever to their wives and children and loved ones, we see the weight of the sin.
Apart from divorce, the only other option would have been genocide. This would have been the worse option. Ezra stood firm and did not compromise. He did not worry about popular opinion or about being politically correct. The Jews had to separate.
As it stood, once the temple had been rebuilt and the traditions re-established in and around Jerusalem, the exiles only ever inhabited a small fraction of the land they once possessed. Ezra provides a vital link to the history of the Israelites. We must understand that under Babylonian captivity, the nation of Judah ceased to exist and the Jews feared their God had abandoned them.
Through the wonderful narrative of Ezra, we see him encourage and rebuke the Jews. We see them striving together to separate, purify, regather, struggle and ultimately rebuild what had been annihilated. Ezra stood before the people to declare to them that God had not forgotten them. To proclaim YHWH keeps His promises.
One of the most beautiful intercessory prayers is found in the book of Ezra. This man’s leadership proved to be crucial to the advancement of the Jews both physically and spiritually. Ezra brought around 2000 exiles with him, sparking a revival of the original remnant that had grown complacent. We see the covenant of God renewed and the nation once again acting in obedience to Him.
How can we relate to this today? Can we see how God has used unbelievers in our lives to bless, and even help us? Perhaps aid has come from the most unexpected sources! Many times across this journey we will stand and wonder how God will protect us and make all things work together…
Do we understand the sovereignty of God? Do we trust Him? Are we walking in obedience to Him? Let us examine and challenge ourselves. Let us change our thinking and commit every area of our life to Him.
Written by Jori Sams