When the exiles in Ezra cohabited with the women of the land, they polluted their faith and had children who rejected the God of Israel. These loyalties drew the people to sin against God. The priests came to Ezra and challenged him. As the leader of the exiles it fell to him to protect the national heritage and moral standards and values of the people. They charged him “let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord? and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law. Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.”

Applying the specifics of the Old Testament is sometimes challenging and often confusing. We surely don’t advise people to divorce their wives and disown their children for any reason at all. Quite the opposite. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding our marital commitments we challenge all to be faithful to their spouses and to accept all responsibility for their children.

During the course of life, however, I find that I often succumb to the temptations around me and even establish behavior patterns that are displeasing to God. I “marry” myself to unproductive practices and habits that have a negative effect on my personal walk and devotion to God. These marriages have children; their names are: sloth, anger, greed, lust, pride, envy and gluttony.

There’s a new year coming and it’s a great time to make some resolutions. Let’s call them Covenants instead. It’s a great time to make a “covenant” with God to renew our devotion to Him and rededicate ourselves to live lives that are more pleasing to Him.

Arise!  It’s your task!  And I am with you! Be strong and do it!

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”  Revelation 2:4 (NLT)