The Unequal Yoke
A daily devotion for August 30th
23 Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. 25 I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God's name and said: "You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. 27 Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?"
28 One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite. And I drove him away from me.
29 Remember them, O my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.
Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women? (Nehemiah 13:27)
The nations among whom Israel was called to live were unusually degenerate. They practiced public lewdness. Their immorality had spread diseases among their people. They killed their children by throwing them alive into furnaces of fire in worship to their god Molech. To protect the Israelites from these dangerous practices, God had told them not to intermarry with these peoples. Though intermarriage might look right and proper to us, it would introduce to the Israelites attitudes and concepts that would ultimately undermine their faith and destroy them and their nation. This is what happened. Though Solomon, David's own son, was said to be the wisest man who ever lived, he contracted over a thousand marriages with foreign women who brought their gods with them and eventually introduced pagan practices into the worship of Israel. By the time Solomon's son came to the throne, the nation was so divided it could no longer exist as one but was separated into two. So this was a very wise pledge to make.
This command is actually repeated in Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, not concerning racial distinctions, but religious. He says,
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). Many Christians have ignored that to their own detriment by intermarrying with others of a different faith. They have thereby so undermined their own faith that evil in many ways has ultimately crept in and destroyed their marriages. There is no guarantee that if you marry a Christian you are going to have a happy marriage, because there are other principles involved. But it is much more likely that two Christians will be happy together because there are principles and practices taught to us in the Word that make for happiness in marriage. It is certain that if you disobey this command, however, you are opening the door to much heartache, struggle, and misery. There are passages designed to help people who have disobeyed this principle because God is very practical and merciful. He recognizes that for various reasons, intermarriage may occur. There are guidelines to help handle those situations. But by and large this is practical wisdom that needs to be adhered to today. Marry those who share the same faith you have, because faith is the basis for all of life.
Lord, the guidelines You have given for living are good and right. Thank You that You love enough to protect me from that which ultimately would bring hurt and misery to me and to others.
Life Application: Are we actively seeking the profound and practical wisdom of the Word for all our relationships, and to avail ourselves of His wise and loving protection?
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