How to understand Ezra Chapter 9: The Parent Trap and Revelation 3:20
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After the burnt offerings, some Israelite officials approach Ezra and tell him that the people haven’t separated themselves from the people of other nations who commit abominations (Canaanites, Hittites, Egyptians, Justin Bieber fans). The problem is that some of them are still married to women from these different lands and have had children with them. They tell Ezra that the leaders and other officials have led the way in arranging these mixed marriages. Ezra tears his clothes, pulls out hair from his head and beard, and sits down appalled. Other people who obey God’s laws gather around him while he stews about it. In the evening, Ezra gets up and ends his brief fast. (He basically skipped lunch.) He prays to God, saying he’s extremely ashamed, and the guilt of the people is really great. Ezra says that they’ve been guilty from their ancestors’ time to the present, which led them to be captured by foreign kings and brought into exile. But God has left a remnant of his people. They’re still slaves ruled by foreigners, but God’s showering his love on them and giving them a shot to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem. But now, says Ezra, they’re at risk of getting it wrong yet again by intermarrying with the people who have filled the land with abominations and idol worship, and disobeying the prophets’ orders not to do this. Ezra says that, in the past, God has punished them even less than they deserved by even allowing a remnant of the people to survive. Now he’s worried that God will destroy them until there’s nobody left standing. He concludes by saying that they’re so guilty they can’t even face God. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.