|Posted by Lorraine Serra on October 16, 2010 at 7:46 AM|
Good day to all. I just want to praise God for the tender hearts of my sisters. I pray everyone who stops by this blog finds hope, feels blessed and encouraged. Thank you, Jesus! Uniquely gifted are we. What a joy to be able to share what God has taught us.
For I truly believe what the Bible teaches, that though we are "studying", "researching", "learning" from Biblical accounts, history, scholars, commentaries, Bible footnotes, etc, the Real Teacher is the Holy Spirit revealing the truth of God's Word and His involvement in our lives. James 1:5 invites us to ask for wisdom and the Holy Spirit will give it liberally. In the gospel of John 16:13, Jesus promised the Spirit would lead us into all truth.
Never stop asking! He will deliver!
Nothing speaks louder of God's presence and power than sharing our personal experience of Him! Nobody can say "That's not true." You can declare with confidence, "My God is at work in my life! See what He has done!" Halleluia!
Now, some final comments on Ezra. There is wisdom we need to take note of here
In my research, I found that some Jews had evidently escaped capture to Babylon,some were left to tend the fields and herds. At any rate, those who remained were, what one commentary called, "relics of the 10 tribes of Israel." Ouch! These who stayed behind married into gentile groups of pagan people "in the land" of Trans-Euphrates and Samaria.
Some of them remembered the days of old, worshiping in the beautiful Solomon's Temple. But, they were now rejected by the returning Jews as impure and defiled, having no part of the nation Israel, its worship, and its rebuilding project.
Why? Marriage to non-Jews was strictly forbidden by the Mosaic Law. By doing so, they were lumped into the people group known as Samaritans. This was a term for mixed-race of people, brought to the region from hither and yon by Assyrian conquerors of old. They practiced a patchwork quilt of religion. You can read more in 2 Kings 17:33.
Sadly, the pagan worship dominated worship of Yahweh God. It was these people of the land who began to mock the Jews and stir up trouble. (Ezra 4) when they were refused participation. I'm not sure they really wanted to help or, rather hinder the project out of revenge!
God's eye was on His people once again, as He raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people to carry on in their work. In the end, after 7 years, the temple was finished and dedicated.
In the final chapters of Ezra, we learn that Ezra himself, a scribe, a diligent student of the Law, the Books of Moses, leads the second group of Jews home to Jerusalem. This happens about 57 years after King Cyrus first sent the Jews back to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel leading.
One commentator mentioned that we should bless God for raising up this amazing scribe who assembled the copies of the scriptures which comprise most of the Old Testament, the poetry and history of Israel, and restored the Law and ritual. Imagine! The Old Testament might have been lost in Babylon!
He was a priest and a scribe, precious in the eyes of God who showered him with favor to do the work he was given.
Ezra was a man of deep piety, zeal and reverence for God, carefully recovering the sacred writings.
It is heartbreaking to read that hundreds of years later, scribes are grouped with Pharisees as the enemies of Christ; they knew well the letter of the law, but did not recognize the Spirit of Life and Love. Praise Christ for grace!
Chapter 7 has Ezra revealing his lineage and qualifications for leading the second group of exiles out of Babylon and home to Jerusalem. The majority of people, I learned, and the former princes of Israel, stayed on in Babylon where they were happy and prospering. Ezra had the responsibility to minister to a meager remnant of the population, re-establishing the Law and rituals of their faith.
Well, as usual, this post is getting lengthy. Let’s end looking at Chapter 9.
It is difficult for us in 2010 to grasp the deep sorrow, the cry of anguish in Ezra 9.
Oh, that I would humble myself before my God on my own behalf, as Ezra does on behalf of his people! Such honesty, transparency, admission of sin. We could all benefit from such authenticity before our authentic God!! Such remorse and contrition. We should all go read it again!!
The account goes on in the final chapter 10 to reveal a shocking remedy to the problem of inter-marriage
with gentiles. Ezra and the elders come to a painful decision: it will be necessary to remove the Gentile wives from the community in order to comply with God’s laws and preserve the Jewish people. Yikes! Really? Yes, really.
Assignment: I ask you to please read with careful thought this 9th Chapter, and the 10th, and share what the Spirit reveals to you about this.
Can you imagine making this oath to divorce your foreign spouse, and sacrifice your life together, your family, in order to be pure again before God ?
Could there be another way?
How does 1 Cor 7:12 enlighten us about this subject for us today?
Holy Spirit, please teach us well, that we may all abide in Your truth and grow in understanding the ways of our Holy, Righteous, Perfect God! Amen.
Blessing to all.
Love and prayers,
Categories: HAGGAI STUDY