by: Peter Alcivar
Ezra 10:3b (NLT) We will follow the advice given by you and by the others who respect the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law of God.
The Israelites were at it again. After experiencing a devastating exile to Babylon that lasted seventy years and having now returned to the Promised Land, they began to do the same thing that they did before. They intermarried with the foreign women in the land and gave their sons to intermarry with them as well. This is what led to their demise in the first place. The reason why God forbade them to intermarry with the foreign women was because he knew the weakness of men’s hearts. He knew that these women would entice the people of God to serve their gods and abandon their God who is the One true God. Upon abandoning their true God, they began to do evil, just like the people that occupied the land before them. They began to act like them, at times even sinking lower by sinning in an even greater fashion than the heathen people around them. This is what led to their downfall and their exile and here they were, repeating the same pattern again.
But this time, there was a godly man among them who honored the Lord and honored His Word. Ezra was sent to the people by King Artaxerxes of Persia to teach people the Law of God all over again since they had become ignorant to it by walking away from God. When Ezra found out what the men of Judah were doing, he was so greatly disturbed that he pulled out some of the hair on his head and from his beard. Then he sat down in shock. When he recovered a little, he knelt down to pray and weep before the Lord. When the people saw him there weeping and kneeling before God, they were moved in their hearts and began praying and weeping as well. This led to a change of heart and the men who had done this resolved in their hearts to undo the sin that they had committed. They then became willing to follow God’s commands and to repent and change their ways and it all began with a humble man who loved God with all of his heart and who loved His Word. He so loved God and honored him by the way that he lived and by his confession before the Lord on behalf of the people that it moved the people’s hearts to change their way of living. They were then willing to follow his advice and follow the Law of God.
We can have a great effect on people by our own love and fervency for the Lord and for His Word like Ezra had. Ezra’s zeal for the Lord made an impact among the people of Judah and as a result, they turned from their sin and averted another disaster among them. Genuine zeal for the Lord Jesus and for His Word (not religiosity) can have a great effect on the people around you. But you yourself must be living the life that you speak about. Your surrendered life will be a testimony to those that are in your life and who God sends your way and you can be great tool in the Lord’s hands to save people from the error of their sin. Respect the Lord and His Word and you, like Ezra, will cause others to respect God and His Word as well.
Pastor Joey Vazquez