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.
The Book of Ezra
Response to Sin
(Part I: The Iniquity of the People)
How much influence do you think your friends have on you?
• 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,