Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ezra 8-10

Day 145

The cookout last night was fun.  I was glad we went.  Thanks to our sweet neighbors for letting the dog out....twice! :)  

I'm counting down the days until my appointment on Wednesday to be brave enough to cut my hair.....really short.  It's short now....I want it shorter! :)  Short like Suze Orman...the money/financial guru...we'll see how brave I really am! :)   

Chapter 8   This chapter lists the family heads who were brave enough to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.  Mom made a good comment from her study Bible.   Click on the comment in yesterday's post to read it!  Ezra's party of over 1700 includes priests, laypeople, and somewhat reluctantly, Levites.  They even take over 48,000 pounds of silver and over 7,500 pounds of gold with them as gifts!  Ezra is faced with a long and dangerous journey and boasts in confidence in God.  And in doing so, he can't ask the king for a securtiy escort.  God has to take care of them now!  The phrase, "the hand of the Lord was upon us" occurs six times, in different variations and summarize the life and teaching of Ezra.  He is dedicated and committed to faith in the Lord.

chapter 9    Ezra is great disturbed at the question of mixed marriages.  Since their return, the priest and Levites, rulers and laypeople alike, have intermarried with the "heathen" people around....a thing forbidden by God in Deuteronomy 7 .  it was not an issue of racism, but it was more about leading to idolatry and pagan worship when mingling with "outsiders."  This has already been a major factor in the downfall of the Jewish nation in the past.  So Ezra tears his cloak and clothes and has a broken heart.....he even tears his hair out of his head and his beard.  The pain in his heart must have surpassed the physical pain of his hair being pulled out.  Ezra prays a gut-wrenching prayer, expressing his personal shame and the disgrace and guilt of this unfaithfulness.   God is not offended by Ezra's extremely emotional response.  His passion cues a response for the repentance of the people!  

Chapter 10   The people confess their sins and are remorseful.....perhaps as a reaction/response to Ezra's dramatic play.....maybe it was for show...maybe not....but they got the point.  Ezrai is a wise teacher and finally the Israelites admit they have sinned.  They kno they need to take drastic measures †o demonstrate their repentance.......their send away the women and children!!!!  That is harsh!  but they think that is what needs to be done in order to protect the exiled community from the sins that they committed.   They even spend 3 months investigating certain cases.  The commission is formed and the book ends with a sad list of those found guilty of intermarriage.   It is a legal record of wrongdoings.  But there is hope!   God is a God of love and forgiveness....we just need to confess our sins AND change our behavior!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment