Summary: Sermon 18 of the series. Influenced by leaders of this new community, the priests and Levites, along with others in Jerusalem, had intermarried with the pagan population they had found living in the land. When Ezra learned this, he ripped his garments and
The Book of Ezra
A National Repentance!
• The marriage problems in Ezra 9-10 began in this way.
• In the seventh year of Artaxerxes (458 b.c.), Ezra led a second group of Jewish exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem, only to learn that a serious problem existed in the community that had developed under Zerubbabel.
• Influenced by leaders of this new community, the priests and Levites, along with others in Jerusalem, had intermarried with the pagan population they had found living in the land.
• When Ezra learned this, he ripped his garments and pulled out his hair in horror and grief.
• He was dumbfounded as to what to do.
• At the evening sacrifice, Ezra fell on his knees in prayer before God, confessing his shame and guilt on behalf of his nation.
• As he prayed, others joined him in weeping and prayer.
• Suddenly, Shecaniah, one of the sons of Elam, proposed a solution: the people would acknowledge their sin and make a covenant with God that all pagan wives be put away.
• Ezra apparently agreed that this was the mind of the Lord, and so an announcement was made that in three days the putting away would take place. —Hard Sayings of the Bible
I. THE WORDS OF THE PREACHER (9-11)
A. THE CONGREGATION (9)
Ezra 10:9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street [SEE WORD STUDY] of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain.
• Three days after the public proclamation to come or else lose your property and your community, the people assemble.
• They are literally trembling because of:
1. REVERENCE (Heb. 10:31)
Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
2. RAIN (Gen. 7:9-12, 9:12-16)
Genesis 7:9-12 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
Genesis 9:12-16 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
B. THE CONDEMNATION (10)
Ezra 10:10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass [NOTE: guilt] of Israel.
• Ezra lets a committee decide what to do.
• He will let the committee carry out the plan.
• He will not directly be involved.
• BUT, He will do his part in the pulpit!
C. THE COMMANDS (11)
1. CONFESSION (11A)
Ezra 10:11 Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers,
• Confessions is step one of the journey.
• No journey can begin without the first step.
• This is what starts the wheels to spinning in your trip back to God.
1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, [THEN!] he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
2. CLEANSING (11B)
11B and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.
a. A SEPARATION TO THE WILL OF GOD
“do His pleasure”
• Our confession should acknowledge the will of God.
• Confession means to “say the same thing.”
b. A SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD
• Our speech should be accompanied by our separation.