One of the themes in Ezra’s ministry was the problem with religious syncretism, or the merging of differing religious beliefs into one system. I find it very interesting that the very same issue is so prominent today in our world. The idea that all roads lead to Heaven and that no single group has the right to claim an exclusive handle on truth is mainstream today. Despite the pushback and even outright attacks on those who dare make truth claims, truth by its very nature is exclusive. For there to be a truth, there must be something else that is false. If there is an up there must be a down etc.
Ezra stands up to the problem of mixing the religions of the world with belief in the true living God. He is shocked by the compromise he finds in the people when he arrives in Jerusalem. Israel’s history illustrates clearly how quickly their faith deteriorated when they practiced interfaith marriages. The Apostle Paul would use the phrase “unequally yoked” to describe the problem. We are in great danger when we try to blend in with the world, when we compromise our commitment to God alone.
It was Jesus himself who said that he was “the way, the truth and the life, and that no one could come to the Father but by him.” John 14:6 When we buy into the world’s idea that all truth claims are equal, we are calling the Lord a liar. We are not called to be judgmental, but we are called to discern truth. 1 John 4:1 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Ezra’s stand for truth and his humble prayer of repentance spurred the people of his day to some radical measures of getting back on track with God. It still works that way today my friends.