Ezra 8-10

What does it say?
The men who came to Jerusalem were numbered and named according to their patriarch. Ezra did not see any Levites camped with him so, he sent for them to come. Ezra had not asked for troops to protect them as they journeyed to Jerusalem but asked through fasting and prayer for the Lord might protect them along the way. Ezra gave the treasure to 12 priests and 10 Levites to hold on to until the treasure could be brought to the house of God. The Lord protected them from thieves along the way; three days after arriving in Jerusalem the treasure was weighed out in the house of God into the hands of the high priests. The exiles that arrived with Ezra offered burnt offerings to God and delivered the kings edicts to the governors. Ezra found that the exiles who returned ahead of him had intermarried with the people of the land and he lamented their action. Ezra makes a prayer of confession regarding the rebellion of Israel and the grace of the Lord. Ezra sees the intermarriages with the people of the land as breaking the commandment to not worship other god’s. (cf. Ex. 34:11-17) As Ezra prayed and prostrated himself, a large assembly gathered to him and Shecaniah suggested making a covenant to put away the wives from the people of the land and their children. Ezra made the priests and Levites take an oath to do what Shecaniah suggested, so they took an oath and called for all of Judah to assemble and warned that he who does not come will forfeit his property and be excluded. The assembly agreed to put away the wives and children from the land but asked for time to handle the matter. Ezra selected men to visit the exiles to investigate who had married foreign wives. They pledged to put away their wives and offered a ram of their flock for their offense. 

What does it mean?
The people of God are to be one in obedience before the Lord. The first commandment: You shall have no other gods before me means that the Lord is to be first in everything. When Ezra arrived in Jerusalem he found that the people were not putting the Lord first but were putting their own desires ahead of the Lord; therefore, they were also putting their own desires ahead of the assembly. Ezra and those who came with him had journeyed a long ways trusting the Lord to protect them. Ezra was appalled over this intermarrying because doing so would lead to Idolatry, the breaking of the second commandment. Idolatry and selfishness were the reasons that Israel and Judah were exiled. God had been gracious in allowing these exiles to return. Intermarrying would cause them to return to breaking the commandments. 

What shall I do?
When I realize that I have sinned; I shall repent, confessing my sin to the Father God and trust in the cross, the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ to save me from hell. For God is just to forgive us of all our sins in Jesus Christ. 

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