Talks for Growing Christians
The Problem of Intermarriage with Foreign Women
Lesson Number 10
- The discipline of God’s people is demanded.
- The discipline of God’s people is difficult.
- Let’s be firm but flexible like Ezra.
- Which language was common in Ezra’s day? (About one-fourth of the Book of Ezra was written in this language)
- The first two verses of the book of Ezra are identical to the last three verses of 2 Chronicles. What does this suggest to us?
- Ezra was confronted with a major problem. What was the problem?
- What was the solution to the problem?
- List a few reasons, as seen in this chapter, why the discipline of God’s people is difficult
- Aramaic. The Jewish people learned to speak Aramaic while they were captives in Babylon.
- The close connection between these books strongly suggests that Ezra was the author of both of the books of Chronicles.
- A number of the Jews had intermarried with the heathen women of the land, who followed pagan religions. Some of the these marriages produced children.
- First, there was remorse for the sin and confession of the sin on the part of Ezra for the nation. Then disciplinary action had to be taken.
- Not everyone is in agreement with the discipline administered, some church leaders are involved in the problem, there are family connections, and the same problem resurfaces.
- As a result of Ezra’s great prayer of confession, a large number of concerned people gathered in the courts of the temple and joined him in weeping bitterly. When God’s people sin, it is right that all of the fellowship be concerned to the point of prayer and weeping together. God is merciful in providing hope when there is discipline. Those who refuse to come would be excluded from the assembly of God’s people. The discipline of God’s people is demanded. Do you support and encourage your spiritual leaders as they exercise spiritual discipline?
- The discipline of God’s people is difficult. Re-read Ezra 10:9-44. Review the reasons why the discipline of God’s people is difficult. Those Jews who had intermarried with the pagan women were to dissolve their marriages. The purity of God’s covenant people was to be maintained. This directive was for Israel under the law. It was not given for Christians within the church today. Read 1 Corinthians 7.
- Ezra was a firm disciplinarian. He did not back down from his responsibility to discipline for disobedience to God’s word. But Ezra was reasonable and flexible because he was a good leader. Re-read Ezra 10:12-14. Whether it be family discipline or discipline in the church, let’s be firm but flexible like Ezra.
- “While Ezra was praying and confessing and weeping and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly.” Ezra 10:1
- “A proclamation was issued to gather at Jerusalem, and whoever would not come, all his property would be confiscated, and he himself would be separate from the assembly of those from the captivity.” Ezra 10 7-8
- “You have transgressed…now therefore make confession to the Lord God…and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land. All the assembly answered and said…, ‘Yes! As you have said, so we must do.” Ezra 10:10-12