DEVOTION:THIS HONORS GOD!
In this section of scripture, more detail is given on how Ezra prayed to God
While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. Ezra 10:1
Someone came up with a wise solution to the problem.
Then Shekaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law. Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it. Ezra 10:2-4
This is a very interesting suggestion. I wonder how modern Christians would respond to this. Just in case you missed it, here it is;
Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law. Ezra 10:3
This idea sounded good to Ezra. So he took action to implement it.
So Ezra rose up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel under oath to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath. Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. Ezra 10:5-6
This action meant that the entire community of exiles must assemble in order to address and resolve this problem.
A proclamation was then issued throughout Judah and Jerusalem for all the exiles to assemble in Jerusalem. Anyone who failed to appear within three days would forfeit all his property, in accordance with the decision of the officials and elders, and would himself be expelled from the assembly of the exiles. Ezra 10:7-8
This was a very serious proclamation with severe consequences for those who would fail to come out.
Within the three days, all the men of Judah and Benjamin had gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion and because of the rain. Ezra 10:9
Once everyone was gathered, it was now Ezra’s time to do what had been suggested:
Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt. Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives. Ezra 10:10-11
What these exiles had done was dishonoring to God. In order to bring honor to God, each one of them who had intermarried with the inhabitants of the land had to separate themselves from the people around them and their foreign wives. And this was God’s will for them. By doing this, they would bring honor to God.
- The inhabitants of the land were pagans who worshipped many gods but not the God of Heaven. Their practices were contrary to the practices God had prescribed for His people Israel. The same principle is given to believers in the New Testament where Paul the Apostle writes;
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14
- As long as you are yoked with unbelievers, you will find it difficult to do things that bring glory to God. Unbelievers operate from the worldview of Satan’s Kingdom. But believers operate from the worldview of the Kingdom of God.
- If you have been living in sin, then you have been dishonoring God. But God’s will for you is to do away with your sins. By doing this, you bring honor to God.
- If you are in a relationship that is not glorifying to God or you have a habit that is dishonoring to God. You need to do what the exiles in Judah did – separate yourself from this partnership that is dishonoring to God.
- Is your life today bringing honor to God? If not, then, remove or stay away from that which is dishonoring to God. Seek God’s will for your life and do it. This way, you bring honor to your God.
Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them,
“You have been unfaithful; you have married
Foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt.
Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors,
And do his will. Separate yourselves
From the peoples around you
And from your foreign wives.
THIS HONORS GOD!
Read: Ezra 10:1-11
Pastor Shadrack [email protected]