But there are many people here and it is the rainy season; so we cannot stand outside. Besides, this matter cannot be taken care of in a day or two, because we have sinned greatly in this thing. Let our officials act for the whole assembly. Then let everyone in our towns who has married a foreign woman come at a set time, along with the elders and judges of each town, until the fierce anger of our God in this matter is turned away from us.” Ezra 10:13,14 NIV
When the people (exiled groups) were assembled in order to determine why God was angry, the conclusion they came to was that there were so many “foreign” women in their midst. Now, the reference here is not about being a stranger in a strange land, but about someone who does not know God or worship Him as the Israelites had been taught to do. I’m clarifying this for a reason since we know–under Grace–not under The Law–we are still discouraged from being “unequally yoked” with unbelievers.
Why does God not want Believers and unbelievers joined in matrimony? It is a simple matter and one in which most of us would shy away from expressing–aloud. Remember Eve’s influence over Adam in the garden? Instead of him influencing her–she enticed him to eat the forbidden fruit. Since that time–it would appear–women have held enormous influence over men, especially in the area of disobeying God. Even sadder is the fact that gullible men allow themselves to be led into disobedience and open the door for sin to reign.
When Ezra brought the people together they decided that the officials should determine what to do–the men who had not been influenced by the strange women–and it was determined that the men who had married the strange women needed to send them away so they could seek atonement from God for their sin.
Is there anyone who can officiate over such an assembly today–one who would hear from God and inform the people that in order to turn God’s wrath from them, they would need to turn from sin and separate themselves from those who enticed them away from doing God’s Will?
None of us are perfect and without sin in our lives, but that’s why grace is ours today. Jesus has made atonement for our sins and we choose--just as they did in the days of old–whether we obey God or not. We cannot blame anyone–especially not women–for the decisions we make because Holy Spirit is available to all. Whether it is a woman or man who leads anyone astray from the path God has established, we need to separate ourselves from them and seek God’s forgiveness so we can get back on the right path.
It is truly unfortunate that we do not allow those who have been entrusted in positions of leadership to hear from God and inform the people. Instead, we employ secular mechanisms to make decisions and usually end up going astray, and when things go wrong, we wonder what happened. Have we learned to seek atonement for our sin or do we keep heading in the wrong direction, led by our fleshly desires?
Until we learn to do things God’s way, we will never experience a time when His wrath is turned from us. It is time for us to repent and turn away from doing things our way and choose to do what He would have us to do.