Highlights In Today's Reading:
Well, we've been told our sins will find us out; they surely did here (10:1-2). The sin is marriage of holy seed (Israelites) with the idol-worshiping Canaanite. Cleansing begins (10:3-5). Transgressors are warned (10:7-8). Look how long it takes (10:16-17). Note Ezra's infamous list after he finally cleans house (10:18-44).
It had been about 60 years since the preaching of the Word of God by Haggai and Zechariah had inspired the people to rebuild the Temple (6:14-16). By now another generation and their children had grown up among the peaceful Canaanites. The sin of intermarriage with the unbelieving idol-worshiping people had become acceptable even among spiritual leaders — the sons of the priests. . . . Also of the Levites . . . of the singers . . . and of the porters (10:18,23-24). Soon their spiritual calling and purpose for worship in the Temple would be meaningless.
Ezra called for a general assembly throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem. . . . all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days (10:7,9).
True to his calling as a descendant of Aaron, Ezra the priest greatly sorrowed over their sins, weeping and casting himself down before the House of God (10:1). He commanded: Make confession unto the Lord . . . and do His pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange (Canaanite) wives who worshiped their gods (10:11). As the Israelites listened to the Word of God, the Lord brought conviction to their hearts. The offenders divorced their idol worshiping wives to avert the fierce wrath of God upon them (10:14).
All of us are prone to underestimate the eternal consequence of sin. To confess sins without intending to forsake them is self-deception. However, when we confess our sins with a determined desire to forsake them, God is ready and willing to forgive our sins, and strengthen us through His Word to live pleasing to Him (I John 1:9).
For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:3-5).
Thought for Today:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (II Cor. 6:14).
Through the ram (male sheep) offered for the offenses of the sons of the priests (Ezra 10:19). Christ offered Himself up for the sins and offenses of all mankind. He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25).
10:1 wept very sore = wept bitterly; 10:2 strange = foreign; 10:8 substance = property; 10:13 without = outside in the rain; 10:15 were employed about = were opposed to; 10:19 gave their hands = promised, vowed.
Pray for English International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Dennis Naderhoff • Radio Sri Lanka Broadcasts sponsored by Jeanette Louise Johnson • Staff: Rita Guerra • Country: Norway (4.45 million) in northern Europe • Major language: Norwegian • Religious freedom • 87.8% Evangelical Lutheran; 3.8% Other Protestant and Catholic; 3.2% None; 5.2% Other (Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Jehovah's Witness) • Prayer Suggestion: Pray to be content with and thankful for the things you have (Heb. 13:5).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 7
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:31