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May 12, 2017

The Jews have once again settled in the promised land, and Ezra receives a report that leaves him utterly dismayed; the Jews (priest, Levites, rulers, and commoners) had intermarried with the idolatrous heathen neighbors exposing themselves and their children to the possibility of idolatry. Many years ago God had warned Israel via Moses not to do this because it would lead them astray (Exodus 34:11-12; Deut. 7:1-6); however, they disobeyed and it was one of the major factors in their downfall which resulted in their captivity. Apparently, the people had not learned from the sinful mistakes of their forefathers; for now, they were repeating this disastrous act.

Upon hearing the report, in a display of overwhelming grief, Ezra sat down appalled in the temple, tore his garments and plucked off the hair of his head and beard. Those that saw Ezra and realized the seriousness of his action joined in the lamentations of Ezra.

At the time of the evening sacrifice, Ezra changed his posture and knelt in prayer with outstretched hands before God. In his prayer, Ezra voiced his shame, the ever-increasing sins of the Jews and the consequence of their sinful actions, God’s amazing grace and favor extended to the remnant in returning them to their homeland, his gratitude to the righteous God and their dependence on God’s mercy.

The gleaning points that I received from this chapter are:

  1. Time does not erase the Laws of God
  2. God’s law does not change.
  3. Disobedience to the Laws of God should cause believers to grieve.
  4. Repentance is needed when we sin.
  5. Knowing God’s laws and the consequence of disobedience should cause believers to cease sinning.

Because of our sinful nature, believers need God’s mercy to be continually extended to them.


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