OT 2012: Ezra 8-9

Wow, it’s been such a long time since I’ve blogged in our trek through the OT in 2012.  But I haven’t given up on it.  I’ve simply had TONS to do with other work, trips, VBS, etc.  But I’m still keeping up with the daily reading and I hope others are as well.  If for nothing else, I’d like to continue this blog for a way to collect my own thoughts on our readings.

Today we read Ezra 9, where Ezra relents and confesses before God the sin of the Israelite people.  What was their great sin?  Intermarrying with those from the surrounding communities.

This is an important passage to understand rightly because I have heard some use this chapter as biblical “support” for claiming that all interracial marriage is a sin against God.  But such is not the case.  God has no problem with interracial marriage.  Indeed it is in many ways extremely glorifying to God because of the picture of racial harmony it portrays to the rest of the world.

The problem is not interracial marriage, but rather inter-religious marriage here.  God consistently warns the Israelites before they go into the Promised Land that if they become entangled with the other people groups, they will be brought down because of their idolatrous worship practices and their ungodly lives.  In fact, we even see other interracial marriages in the OT that God has no problems with whatsoever.  Sometimes they are even celebrated.  (See Moses & the Ethiopian/Cushite Woman in Num. 12:1; also Boaz and Ruth in the book of Ruth)

We see that God has no problem with interracial marriage, but rather he has a problem when Christians marry non-Christians.  In 2 Cor. 6:14 Paul writes,

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?  Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

So it’s very important to understand this section correctly and not to stand for anyone who claims this section reveals that God hates interracial marriage.  Not so.