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Summary: Sermon 15 in the series. Having boasted to the authorities that they would not need a military escort, then suddenly realizing the imminent danger, they have a season of repentance and prayer for the safety of their treasure and their children.

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The Book of Ezra

Study #15

(Ezra 9:1-15)

Response to Sin

(Part I: The Iniquity of the People)

Open:

How much influence do you think your friends have on you?

Introduction:

• You remember that between the events of chapter 6 and the return of Ezra in chapter 7 is a period of fifty-seven years.

• The entire book of Esther fits between these chapters.

• The Temple has been rebuilt under Zerubbabel.

• Now it is time for Ezra to rebuild the spiritual health of the people.

• It was to the task of teaching and preaching the Law that Ezra had resigned himself (vs. 10). (Wiersbe and KJV Bible commentary)

• Recently, we looked at the way the Ezra had prepared himself for leadership and the Lord’s blessings.

• Then we saw that Ezra asks for permission to leave and head for Jerusalem to minister to the Lord’s people.

• Surprisingly, Artaxerxes grants his request.

• And not only that, but provision is made for the journey to be financed by freewill offerings, official government contributions, and tax revenues from the Trans-Euphrates province.

• In our last message, Ezra gathered the men, discovered the missing Levites, recruited sufficient of their number for the planned ministry.

• Having boasted to the authorities that they would not need a military escort, then suddenly realizing the imminent danger, they have a season of repentance and prayer for the safety of their treasure and their children.

• As a final note, remember the great care used in the accounting for the gold and silver.

• Please note that, beginning in the last verse of chapter 7 (7:28) through chapter 8, Ezra is referred to in the first person.

I. THE INIQUITY OF THE PEOPLE (1-5)

A. The Report to Ezra (1-2)

Ezra 9:1A Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying,

• It would appear from a comparison of 7:9 with 10:9, that four months have passed since Ezra’s arrival.

• “These things” would refer to the taking account of the gold and silver and the placement of these things in God’s Temple.

• At first glance it appeared that the religion and the country were doing well.

• But horrible corruptions, demanding immediate correction, were soon uncovered.

• Ezra had been preaching the Word, and the Word was begining to do its work:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

1. The Violators (1B, 2C)

(1B) The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites,

(2C) yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.

• From top to bottom the people have compromised.

• It is sad when any man fails the Lord.

• It is even worse when leadership falls.

And this figure he added eek therto,

That if gold ruste, what shal iren do?

For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,

No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;

(Chaucer, Prologue to Canterbury Tales, Lines 502 ff)

2. The Violations (1C,1E, 2)

a. Wrong Associations

1) The Mingling (1C,1E, 2B)

(1C) have not separated themselves from the people of the lands,

(1E) even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.

(2B) so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands:

• From the garden of Eden, the battle between the seed was on.

Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

• God was to bless the seed of Abraham.

Genesis 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

• The Psalmist makes comment to the failure of a past generation regarding marriage:

Psalm 106:34-35 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them: [35] But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.

2) The Marriages (2A)

[2] For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons:

• Repeatedly Israel violated God’s commandment.

Numbers 25:6-8 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. [7] And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; [8] And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.

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