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CHAPTER 10 (ESV)
1 While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. 2 And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3 Therefore 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. 4 Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” 5 Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.
6 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles. 7 And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, 8 and that if anyone did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles.
- The Israelites were commanded to put away their Gentile wives and their children. Although this regulation was harsh, it had to be enforced because interracial marriage was strictly forbidden. At that time, even the priests and the Levites committed this sin. Through the sincere prayer of Ezra, the Israelites confessed their sin and prayed for God’s guidance on how to restore the relationship with God. True repentance is not just lip service, it has to include correction of behaviour and change of attitude. This may require us to pay a great price. Reflect if you still have sins that have not been confessed or repented. If yes, you have to frankly admit and genuinely repent before God. You also need to have actions that reflect your repentance even if they are costly. Only then can you pray for God’s forgiveness and receive His mercy and grace.
- The Book of Ezra recorded the history of the Israelites’ return after their exile. Not only has it described the rebuilding of the temple but also the restoration of their relationship with God. The road of restoration was not an easy one for it had tears, falls and dangers. However, through the journey they came to know God more and experience God’s love, righteousness and faithfulness. Today are you also on the heavenly journey of “return” and “rebuild”? What enlightenment do you get from this book that makes your life journey a pilgrimage path that leads you closer to God’s mercy seat step by step.
Repent to God for a sin that you have not confessed. Ask God to give you the courage to repent and correct even though you may have to pay a high cost. Ask God to guide you so that you will not depart from His truth and teaching, and will walk on a path according to His will.
“Lead Me To the Cross” – www.youtube.com/watch?v=StW6ZKHRCFo