Ezra 8:21-9:15 / 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 / Psalm 31:1-8 / Proverbs 21:1-2 

Standout verse:

Ezra 9:11-12“The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land, with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from one end to another with their impurity.  Now, therefore, do not give your daughters as wives for their sons, nor take their daughters to you sons; and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.” 

Ezra was greatly disturbed to see God’s chosen people repeating the same old pattern of intermarrying with the people of the surrounding nations - a destructive practice that had contributed to their exile 70 years before. Though the people of Judah believed marrying "foreigners" was insignificant, these marriages were a clear-cut violation of one of the Lord’s basic commands regarding joining in a marriage covenant with one whose heart was set on serving other gods.

This new generation – those born in captivity – was doing just as their fathers did.  Until Ezra, no one had taken seriously God’s call to obedience and purity.  The foreign marriages represented a double-mindedness, and would eventually lead to spiritual compromise as the religious traditions of those in the surrounding lands would be subtly tolerated, accepted and then adopted.

It is a picture of today.  If we surround ourselves with the things of the world that compromise us spiritually, the chances are very high that we will fall prey to that same pattern - compromise, tolerance, acceptance and participation.  The sad things is, when this happens, we totally get ripped off and miss out on the wonderful things our Heavenly Father intends for us.

LET’S CHOOSE BE VIGILANT ABOUT THE THINGS WE SURROUND OURSELVES WITH AND THE COMPANY WE KEEP!

Standout verse:I Corinthians 5:6“Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

Today’s reading from the New Testament is basically talking about the same principle as our reading in the Old Testament.  Leaven represents the corrupting power of sin and evil.  If sin is allowed to remain, it will subtly spread throughout the areas of one’s life if it is left unchecked.  Though a little leaven may appear insignificant, just as a slight spiritual compromise here or their in our lives can seem, it has the power to affect our relationship with the Lord and cause us to miss out on becoming the people He created us to be.  

Let's ask the Lord to show us any sin in our lives that is separating us from Him, anything that needs to go, anything that is "taking us out" (subtly or overtly).  When we ask Him, He promises to show us and help us get back on track so we can walk in TRUE FREEDOM!

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