Ezra 9

Ezra stops for a minute to listen to the leaders who come to him and tell him the facts of what is going on.  “We have not kept …..separate….mixed in with these other peoples”.  They had allowed their sons and daughters to intermarry with the neighboring people and were not remaining set apart as God had commanded.  He specifically had told them not to allow this to happen.  But “leaders have led the way in this betrayal” – their kids were doing it too.  You know how it is.  For a while when you are told something is bad you stay away. But soon enough you inch closer and then test the waters to see what really is going on.  The people did not stay holy in God’s eyes – they allowed themselves to just mingle with the other people groups and now Ezra is upset.  Check out how he shows he is “appalled….from my utter devastation”:

  1. Ripped my clothes and my cape
  2. Pulled hair from my head and out of my beard
  3. Slumped to the group

This is some serious business and Ezra responds pretty strongly.  Pulling hair out – now that is a new one I can’t remember seeing before but that is a real statement.  He is upset that the people have ignored God’s command to remain apart.  Here is what he says as he approaches God in prayer.  “We’ve been stuck in a muck of guilt”.  And now – just when things are starting to look up a little bit – we have done it to ourselves again.  That is what he is thinking.  How can we be so stupid and fail to obey again?  Time to look in the mirror guys.  Ezra responds with deep repentance to disobedience.  He has just led an unbelievable return to Jerusalem with the people.  They have rebuilt things and life should be really good.  But instead, he sees that their lives don’t line up with God.  They are missing the mark of obedience.  And he knows the consequences of disobedience.  He has seen them and read about them for a very long time.  We need to get out of the muck of guilt.  Know how?  It really is pretty simple.  We just need to obey!

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