By Mike Chaffin
All these had taken pagan wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children. Ezra 10:44
Some of the earliest exiles returning to Jerusalem were single men. Many were Levites and Priests. By the time Ezra arrived to help restore worship and order, he found many married outside the faith. They married women who were not God worshipers or Israelites. They gave into the flesh and sinned.
Why this issue is so important to the restoration of Israel is purity is an important part of a holy, set apart life. God has restored Israel, allowed His people to return to the land. But if the men marry women who worship idols, they will lead them right back into the sins that God had punished them for. Israel was removed from the land for whoring after other gods.
However, Ezra was determined to not let Israel go down that road again. The cure was not easy. For many it was a mess. The cure was the dissolution of those marriages. For holiness and righteousness to be restored the men had to cut ties with pagan worshipers.
You might be thinking well that was then, we aren’t under the requirement to marry inside the faith. However, as the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
‘Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”’
Marriage is an important and holy union of one man to one woman so that the two become one flesh. If half of the marriage equation isn’t a believer then fellowship with God is compromised. Paul doesn’t prescribe dissolution or existing marriages in this case, but we are taught not to enter into them when single and dating. If you are in an unequally yoked marriage, prayer for your mate, and a Christian witness of love is prescribed.
Prayer: Lord, the consequences of sin are sometimes astronomical and far reaching. Help me to have the wisdom to follow your instructions in all things, and in all things to worship you. In Jesus name, Amen.