Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ezra-The Purifying of A People

By Mary Vee
Ezra 10

From Ezra's Journal



Photo Courtesy
My name is Ezra. I have spent many years studying the Law of Moses as a servant in Babylon. And now, thanks to the loving grace of the Almighty God, I stand in Jerusalem. The land given by God to our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The last time I visited you, I had wept bitterly. The leaders told me of a great sin committed by the first group of Jews who returned home. And the worst news, they were still doing the sin.

My heart ached so terribly. How could this much wrong be done in such a short time? I won't go into the details, you can scroll down and read my last post for that.

While I lay on the ground crying out to God for His forgiveness, Shecaniah said to me, "We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples and land around us. As you said, these foreigners have already kept us from our worship and obedience to God. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel."

I sat up and listened to him. The crowd of men and women who'd gathered around me hushed to hear Shecaniah.

"There is a hope for Israel," he said. "Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all the foreign women and their children as you and the leaders of Israel have said. Let this be done according to the Law." 

He held out his hand to me. "Rise up. This matter is in your hands. We will do whatever you say. Please. Take courage and do what God encourages you to do."

I wiped the tears from my face and accepted Shecaniah's help to stand. "All right, then. I want all the leading priests and Levites to gather over here," I said.

The men I called for moved from the crowd and stood close to me. "You men must promise to carry out this duty. Do not stop until the job is completely done."

Every leading priest and Levite gave their word to do this job. They first met to form a plan. The plan ended with a rule for all Israelites. The rule said every exile living in Judah and Jerusalem must come to Jerusalem. Anyone who failed to appear within three days would lose all his property and be forced to leave Israel. This was the leaders and Levites decision.

During the time of their planning and waiting the three days I went to the house of Jehohanan. I spent my time in prayer and mourning the exiles great sin, refusing to eat or drink.

What I know is that we need to fix this problem before any more improvements can be made in Jerusalem.

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sources: New International Version, New King James Version 
               
1. What was the problem?
2. Who suggested an answer?
3. What was his suggestion?
4. What plan did the leaders come up with?
5. What did Ezra do during this time?

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