Summary: Sermon 17 of the series. In Chapter 9, Ezra discovered that the people, all the way up to the leadership, had committed the sin of mingling with the nations around them, mimicking their actions, and marrying their daughters.
The Book of Ezra
Getting Serious About Sin
• In Chapter 9, Ezra discovered that the people, all the way up to the leadership, had committed the sin of mingling with the nations around them, mimicking their actions, and marrying their daughters.
• His actions may be summarized as follows:
1. Devastation - he tears his cloths and pulls out his hair.
2. Depression - his sits speechless for hours.
3. Deliberation - he ponders what action to take.
4. Delegation - there arrived at his side men who still feared God and His Word.
5. Determination - He takes the matter to the Lord in prayer. More on this below.
I. A Powerful Prayer (1A)
NOTE: The text now goes back from 1st person to 3rd person.
Ezra 10:1 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God,
• Ezra knows that this will not go away, and it will not be solved by human effort.
• So he determines to take this to the One who can help.
• So, at the time of the evening sacrifice, he begins to pray.
• And what a prayer he prayed.
• Without this prayer, and you mark this down, the actions of chapter 10 that we now begin to study would never have taken place.
• Ezra would have been imprisoned, killed, or forced to flee for his life back to Babylon, where he would be placed in the awkward position of having to describe all of this to a lost king!
• But Ezra DID pray!
• Ezra may be the greatest example that ever lived of the truth found in James 5:16!
James 5:16 . . . The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
II. A Penitent People (1B- 5)
A. THE ASSEMBLY (1B)
The People Assemble
1B there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.
• Many people acknowledged that something had to be done about the situation.
• Apparently this sin had gone on and had been tolerated for some time.
• Children were born to some of those who had intermarried (vv. 3, 44).
• No doubt some devout Jews were grieved because of this sin in the community.
• Perhaps they were afraid to speak up or had tried and were rebuffed.
• In any case, now that some of the leaders were joining Ezra in bemoaning the sin, these righteous people joined in the mourning and began to demand that something be done.
• A large crowd of Israelites gathered with Ezra and wept bitterly. (BKC)
APPLY! There may be many in your circle who are simply awaiting for a leader! How about you.
B. THE ADVICE (2-4)
1. The Man (2A)
2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra,
QUOTE: This leader, not involved in the mixed marriages since his name does not appear in the list in vv. 18-44 (though his father and 5 paternal uncles do appear in v. 26), was bold and chose to obey God rather than please his relatives. (MacArthur Study Bible)
• It is easy to be the pharisee that says, Lord, I thank thee that thou has not made me as these.
• It is easy to preach against what you have no problem with.
ILLUS: The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in two parts, the first on 1862 September 22 was a preliminary announcement outlining the intent of the second part, which officially went into effect 1863 January 1, during the second year of the American Civil War. It was Abraham Lincoln’s declaration that all slaves in all states which had seceded from the Union and which had not returned to Federal control by 1863 January 1, would be emancipated. The Emancipation Proclamation itself had limited immediate effect upon slavery — except as territory in Confederate states came under Union control. Slaves in the border states (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and West Virginia) which remained loyal to the Union were not affected. Secretary of State William Seward commented on this by remarking, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free." (Wikipedia)
• Shechaniah is related to powerful men who have failed in this area.
• Yet he is the spokesman. That is honesty. That is integrity!
2. The Message (2B-3)
a. The Repentance (2B; Ps. 32:5)
2B We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land:
• Following Ezra’s example, Shechaniah says not THEY have sinned but WE have sinned.