From what we have seen in Ezra and Nehemiah about this issue of mixed marriages, it’s clear that God takes marriage seriously, and that we should, as well. We should prayerfully consider a potential marriage partner, and include God in the decision-making. And we should decide to be faithful to God’s principles, which can protect us from much sadness and misery.
Look up how Paul was dealing with this issue when a Christian had an unbelieving spouse. Study carefully 1 Corinthians 7:10-17
. How should we approach marriages that are unequally yoked today?
Because we have no elaborate command in the Bible on what to do with interfaith marriages, it would be very unwise and run against the intention of the text and its principles to insist that separating from the unbelieving spouse is the right approach and, based on this account by Ezra, must be recommended. Ezra-Nehemiah’s situation was a one-time event and according to God’s will (Ezra 10:11
), because the future and worship of the whole community of Israel was at risk. They were losing their identity as worshipers of a living God.
We know that in the Jewish Elephantine settlement in Egypt (contemporary with Ezra and Nehemiah), the leaders allowed intermixed marriages and shortly developed a mixed religion with Yahweh and his pagan consort, the goddess Anat. Additionally, the messianic line was in danger. Therefore, this one-time event shouldn’t be taken as a prescription for the breaking up of marriages and families whenever a believer marries an unbeliever. Instead, the account does demonstrate the high value God places on equally yoked partnership in marriage. Satan is happy when we end up married to a person who does not encourage devotion to God, because he knows that if both spouses have the same conviction, then they will be stronger in their mission work for God than if just one is faithful.
While the Bible clearly counsels against unequally yoked marriages (2 Cor. 6:14
), we also find passages of extended grace to those who have made a different choice. God empowers those who have married unbelievers to be faithful to God and their spouses. God doesn’t abandon us even when we make choices contrary to His will, and if we ask Him for help, He will provide it. This doesn’t mean that we do whatever we want and then expect God to bless us nevertheless, but rather that when we come to Him with a need and a humble heart, He always hears. Without God’s grace there would be no hope for any of us, because we are all sinners.