As the saying goes, “drastic times call for drastic measures.” Certainly the measures taken by Israel upon their return from exile in Babylon were drastic. But then again, so were the times.
Decades earlier, Israel had been deported because of their idolatry against the Lord. God knew Israel would follow other gods once they entered Canaan, so He forbid His children to intermarry their neighbors. Yet they didn’t obey, and before long the idolatry (and subsequent exile) began.
King Xerxes eventually released the Jews and many, including the prophet, Ezra, returned to Jerusalem. Upon his return, Ezra discovered that the remnant of Israel – those who stayed behind – had fallen right back into the sins for which the nation was being disciplined. They continued to intermarry pagan wives and worship foreign gods.
In response to what he observed, Ezra wept before the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and called together the leaders of the people. One of the priests summarized the situation well:
We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. (Ezra 10:2)
Despite Israel’s unfaithfulness, there was still hope! IF, they drastically changed their ways. The change they agreed to?… Sending their non-Israeli wives and children away from Israel (v.3). Radical wasn’t it!? I simply cannot imagine the scene.
Please hear me – I’m not advocating splitting up families, etc. However, I want us to see a couple of things here. 1. There is always HOPE – in spite of our worst sins! 2. We can’t play around with those sins. We need to pull them up by the roots and throw them out! The more damaging the sin, the more drastic the action that may be needed to rid ourselves of it.
Have any life-damaging sins? There’s hope – but it may require drastic measures to see that hope! –Dave
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