GENESIS 9-10, MATTHEW 9, EZRA 9, ACTS 9
 

Genesis 9:7
"You, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”

God gave the same instruction to be fruitful and multiply, to Noah that He gave to Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28).  Do you think God just wanted them to have lots of children to populate the earth?  Or, is it His desire for them to have children who glorify Him and fill the earth?  Since He had just destroyed all mankind except those on the ark, it seems He had something else in mind.  In Malachi 2:14-16, the LORD says He is a witness between the priest and the wives of their youth, and He condemns them of faithlessness with their wives.  In reference to their union verse 15 says, "What was the one God seeking?  Godly offspring."

Loving Father, may Your children rear children whose purpose is to know You, love You, enjoy You and glorify You forever.  Please, Father, would You bless godly parents with insight into each of their children to see them as You do.  Strengthen them to speak the truth in love into their children's lives.

Matthew 9:1-8
"When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men."  Matthew 9:8 

As I read this event in Jesus' ministry, I am amazed at the conclusion the people reach.  In great detail, Jesus has claimed to be God by both His words and actions.  But the crowd who saw and heard Him, even though they glorified God, missed Jesus' point.  It is not that God gave such authority to men, but to only this One man, His chosen man, who has power both to forgive sin and cure physical illness. 

King Jesus, may I always see You for who You are.  May I not be distracted by my own opinions and ideas.

Ezra 9:1-15
"Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice."  Ezra 9:4

This event in the nation of Israel convicts me.  Ezra was horrified to learn some of the people, including the priests and Levites, had not kept themselves separate, but had married into foreign families with detestable practices.  Even though Ezra had not participated in this sin, he included himself as guilty in his prayer of repentance for the nation.  He acknowledged that the country was taken into captivity because of such "evil deeds," but God had given them an opportunity for a new start.  Instead, they returned to the way of their fathers. 

There were about 50,000 men who returned from Babylon to Israel.  Of this number, a few over 100 had taken foreign wives, with about 25% of those being leaders in the temple.  It would be simple to say that seems like a small number but Ezra and those who "trembled at the words of God," knew it affected the entire nation. 

How have I "separated" myself from the world?  How have I instructed followers of Christ to do the same?  James 1:27 says, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."  "Do not love the world or the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)  These passages help us understand how Christians are to view their life in the world.

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