TROUBLE IN PARADISE

Coming home from a bad trip seems like a dream come true.  Along with the dream may come the nightmare though.  If we are to restore the temple, the law comes along with it, and we will remember our mistakes along the way.

Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.  For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.  And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.  Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.  Ezra 9:1-4

Even today we are encouraged to union with fellow believers.  Life is hard if a partner is asked to approach challenges without faith.  Illness, finances, and moods are easier for us because we trust another source for help.  Without that hope we are like Israel at the sea with the Egyptian army moving up behind us.  Can a partner trust their mate as Israel had to trust Moses?  Even the wife of Moses failed to understand the circumcision of his faith.  Ezra knows the danger, and is shocked to get this news.

And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God,  And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.  Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.  And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.  For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.  Ezra 9:5-9

Ezra finds himself with the same Israel that Moses had known, and is burdened with grief.  He knows that the warnings of the prophets were fulfilled, and that they faced the same threat now.  Like Moses he begins intercession for mercy to the people. 

And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,  Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.  Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.  And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;  Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?  O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.  Ezra 9:10-15

I think Ahab may have been able to have faith after seeing so many miracles, but for his wife Jezebel.  Israel has found their own distractions in wives and husbands who cannot see their hope.  Ahab may even have accepted Yeshua after the crucifixion, as many Old Testament souls did.  But what was Jezebel?  She was just another woman who was not predestinated to salvation.  Aren’t there a lot of these of both genders?

Lord, don’t let us have the desires that we should be punished for.  Take the iniquity out of Israel your church.  Do not allow us to indulge the little pleasures of sin to make the church grow.  Prevent us from winking at sin and dogma to fit in to the beliefs of our world.  Help us to return to Jerusalem in spirit and truth by sacrificing the beauty that leads us away from life.  Separate us from religion that is not of faith in Yeshua and from the world that will welcome an anti-Christ.  Keep us as your people.

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