Ezra was not one to compromise, and that’s for sure. After the nation of Judah had gone into exile for 70 years, and after they had been allowed to return to their own land and rebuild – by the hand of God, he was determined that the people were not going into the same sinful pattern again.
Today some people get confused about the “foreign wives” bit. They think that God is saying today it is a sin to marry a foreign wife. Of course, that’s not so.
In the days of Ezra, just as in the prior days, the foreign wives had a different god. Just as Solomon had turned from God by marrying the foreign wives, so others had done the same. When they brought other gods into their households, it diluted their allegiance – and the allegiance of their children – to the one true God.
So Ezra was determined that the people were not going through the same pattern which had caused their downfall.
Today, this would be comparable to Christians not marrying Christians. Obviously, we see this happening frequently, but when both partners are not devoted to God, there are issues which arise in the marriage. One of the greatest issues is that there is not a solid foundation for the children.
It’s something to think about.
Okay, you’d better get ready. The rest of the New Testament is written to the Christians – those who have received Jesus as their Savior.
The rules are about to change. On the cross, Jesus had said, “It is finished,” meaning that the Old Covenant had been fulfilled. He had paid the price for our sins, and He was soon giving us a New Covenant. Now we see it unfolding.
Jesus tells His disciples to gather in Jerusalem for the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.”(V. 5) He tells them that they are not to know the times and seasons, which God has ordained, but they will receive “power” when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Power to be His witnesses. (V.8)
Don’t you know they were filled with anticipation as they waited. A few weeks before this, they had been in doubt about Jesus, as they saw Him go to the cross. But He had proven Himself to be true to His Word, as He arose from the dead and appeared to them. Now He is telling them that something great is about to happen. They can hardly wait.
During His days upon earth, Jesus had ministered to many thousands, as people came to be healed, and as they came to observe the miracles. Now He has gone to Heaven, and only 120 people total are there for the next phase of things.
You can never go by the numbers. Very often at the beginning of a surge of God’s plan, the first numbers are very few. Many people have to see something with their natural eyes before they believe it. If you are a forerunner for God, there’s not anything to see with your natural eyes, because it hasn’t happened yet.
But forerunners are indeed blessed, as His disciples are about to experience. So they gather and they pray. They are with one mind, in unity, gathered together with great expectation.
Something big is about to happen!