Let Your Face Shine On Your Servant

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EZRA 10:1-44 | 1 CORINTHIANS 6:1-20 | PSALM 31:9-18 | PROVERBS 21:3

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Continuing with our story of Ezra, we find in today’s reading, a confession of the people who have strayed from one of the fundamental Mosaic commands that forbade intermarriage among the non-Jews.  Upon Ezra’s arrival from exile, and the rebuilding of the Temple, he noted the large numbers of Jewish men who had taken up wives from the areas surrounding Judah. 

So great is Ezra’s mourning, that the people realize they must address this problem.  It is resolved that the foreign wives and even their children will be sent back from whence they came.  As outrageous as this may seem to us, it must have made perfect sense to the Hebrew children in that day where they viewed this is as the only just atonement for their sin.

Turning now to our reading in the book of I Corinthians, Paul continues to give specific advice on practical matters that members of the early church in Corinth are grappling with.  Regarding lawsuits and disputes amongst the group, Paul advises that they try to solve these matters among themselves or with the help of an elder in the church, as opposed to going to court.  He says, Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?

Next, Paul goes on to speak his mind on the matter of sexual immorality.  The Corinthians must have been quite a wayward bunch with the kind of reports that Paul was getting about them, which is why he writes in such great detail about the ways in which they ought to conduct themselves. 

Paul says, 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find David, the psalmist, pouring his heart and soul before God, beseeching God’s mercies.  Who among us, like David, has not wanted to cry out these very words at some time or another:

12 I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.  14 But I trust in you, LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
17 Let me not be put to shame, LORD,
for I have cried out to you.

Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs, penned by Solomon, the wise king of Israel, who reminds us of a great truth:

3 To do what is right and just
   is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.

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