Read Ezra 10
Confession of the sin of holy seed (the people of God) intermarrying with idol-worshipping Canaanites. Cleansing began (Ezra 10:3-5). Transgressors were warned (10:7-8). Look how long it took (10:16-17). Note Ezra's infamous list after he finally cleaned house (10:18-44).
Ezra's great sorrow over the people's sins drove him to intense prayer — weeping and casting himself down (Ezra 10:1). Ezra's deep grief and the willing submission of the majority of the nation's leaders and people were exceedingly important from a national point of view. Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange (idol-worshiping) wives, to increase the trespass (guilt) of Israel (10:10). The Israelites had to put away their idol-worshiping wives in order that the fierce wrath of our God . . . be turned from them (10:14).
Are we prone to treat the guilt of sin as unimportant? Some will even confess their sins without intending to forsake them. What a delusion! Yet how many are there who have knelt to pray and found a certain satisfaction for their conscience in the mere repetition of the cry: "O God, forgive me, a miserable sinner!"?
Every Christian should realize the vital importance of prayer, whether of repentance, praise, or petition. We should not take the protection and blessings of God for granted.
The restoration of the Temple and true worship of Jehovah, as well as the separation of the people from worldliness and heathen idolatry, were indispensable conditions through which God would preserve His people or answer their prayers. Their descendants might follow properly but, above all, the line through which the Messiah would come had to be preserved in the chosen tribe.
No sin is so great but that the love and mercy of God will be lavished upon the sinner who sincerely repents of his sin. Even if one's sin is so great as to give great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, as was David's, the sincere prayer of repentance restores our relationship with God. Let no sin drive you to despair, but to your knees, thankful that godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation (II Cor. 7:10).
Paul said: This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (I Tim. 1:15).
Thought for Today:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
Through the ram (male sheep) that was offered for the offenses of the sons of the priests (Ezra 10:19). Christ offered Himself 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 Country: Japan (126.7 million) off the eastern coast of Asia • Major language: Japanese • Religious freedom • 49% Buddhist; 45% Shintoist; 1% Christian; 5% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Have faith that God always keeps His promises (Gen. 17:16 & 21:2-3).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 7
Memory Verse for the Week: Acts 1:8