If you’ve been listening to this program for some time I trust you’ve been encouraged to participate in the adventure of reading through the Word of God in two years. If you’ve been keeping up with us in your reading, you should be at the Book of Ezra by now. The next couple of days, as you read it, keep in mind that Ezra focused on being separated to succeed.
After 70 years in captivity, Israel received from God another chance. Cyrus decreed that the temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt, freed Israelites to return and provided necessary materials. When the work began, Israel’s enemies deceitfully offered to help, but Israel didn’t accept their offer. The enemy then stopped the work by decree.
After a time, God’s prophets persuaded the Israelites to continue the work, and before long, the temple was completed. In time, Israel became careless and intermarried with members of surrounding nations who didn’t worship Israel’s God. This led them into idolatry, and that’s why Ezra took such drastic measures dealing with those who intermarried with heathens. He said: “Now, therefore, make confession to the Lord God of your fathers and do His will and separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”
God demands that we keep separate from whatever defiles. This takes ruthless discipline. The wrong must be utterly put away. The right must be patiently and persistently pursued. Separate yourself, therefore, to succeed. God will bless you if you do.