Friday, April 26, 2013

Ezra 9

[1] Now when these things were done,
·         After the sacrifices, the explaining of the rules of the king, the weighing of the vessels, the 3 day recovery time

the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
·         This is a total abdication of the worship of God, and turning to idols and iolatry. This is not at all what Ezra was expecting.
·         It’s as if we went down to MacAurthurs church in LA, and found Joel Osteen preaching on your best life now.
·         The list is the historic people’s in Judea, that had been a stumbling block previously. They had adopted the same forms of worship as the people, which even included offering their children to Molech.
·         Deut 7:2 was the prohibition against this, and one of the first things Balak did to attack Israel was to send his young women to seduce the young men.
·         If the people don’t repent their won’t be a Jesus.

[2] For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.
·         The rulers and elders were chiefly responsible for this compromise.
·         Zerubbabel and Joshua did not leave a lasting legacy. In the face of worldly wealth the leaders cave in
·         The leaders sold out utterly, and had fully embraced the new order. This power hunger should be well familiar to us, although it’s parallel is not to the world, but to the church. What if we were more knowledgeable, more faithful, more dedicated to God than the full time ministers here?
·         Love for the world is enmity against God. They had deserted, having loved this present age

[3] And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.
·         Astonished is even a light word for how Ezra felt.
·         Shaving his hair and beard is the ultimate form of humiliation and sorrow, see 2 Sam 10:4. Rending the garments was also a sign, it’s only prohibited for the priests Lev 10:6
·         Facing down the king? No problem. No Levites go with us? No problem. Bandits? No problem. Severe apostasy in the people who had returned? The strength leaves him. Ezra is so crushed and broken he has no words yet for this tragedy.
·         How hard is it for you when a person who is ahead of you in the faith apostisizes. When that person leads you to Christ and sets your feet upon the right path and then quits. Perhaps Ezra expected too much, having grown up on the legends of Zerubbabel and the faithfulness as seen in the Royal Archives, or perhaps he’s the only person reacting properly.
·         God had sent Ezra to clean up this very problem. It was this very thing that He was concerned for.
·         Ezra is a shadow of Christ, who watched from afar, came to us, took our sins upon himself and led the people in holiness

[4] Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.
·         All the people who actually cared for God came to him. Together they felt sorrow for how far Israel had fallen, and how they had once again invited God’s judgment on them.

[5] And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God.
·         The Jewish posture of prayer was hands palm up in supplication, eyes up in adoration. Here his head is bowed and his hands are up with nothing in them.

[6] And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
·         The trespasses are so great that he does not even have the heart to intercede.
·         Contrast this with Moses, who prayed to God on behalf of the sinful people
·         If you stacked up the sins of all the people they would reach up beyond their heads, into the very heavens

[7] Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.
·         This is good, because it’s a confession of where they are, and what has happened to them. It shows at least a little honest interaction with reality. The other people there didn’t even have that going for them

[8] And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
·         A little space was given. They didn’t have the power of autonomy, they were still under the king but they did have some authority to govern their own people
·         Nail in this place is an interesting word choice. It’s a peg in the wall, of domestic use, that you would hang pots or pans on. God has put it in the place of the sanctuary to revive them by, to hang them on. But they don’t want to be in Gods place.
·         The whole point of God putting them there was to revive them, if they reject this, they have rejected survival.

[9] For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
[10] And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,
·         They had forsaken the first and greatest, and the second which is like it, although we will see that part coming later in Nehemiah
·         This continues the thought from before, that they were in bondage to the king, but they had a community again, they had a temple again. The king was favorable to them.
·         Wall was not physical, they mean wall of a vineyard or a hedge of protection. Isaiah 2, 5 has the same wall in mind.

[11] Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.
·         If you remember what God said to Abraham, in his vision, your children will go into Egypt into bondage, until the sins of the Amorites are complete, some 400 years later. The people in that time had so filled the land with wickedness that it spit them out. Many years later this very thing happened to Israel, which was the deportation.
·         Notice he says servants the prophets plural, indicating that God had repeatedly warned them about this very thing.
·         The people of the land had filled the land from one end to the other, which is a phrase that means from one rim of the vessel to the other, speaking of a piece of pottery that was full to spilling. 

[12] Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.
·         If the former people were displaced because of wickedness, and God had warned them to not be like those people, then there was no excuse for this.
·         This is not a quote from elsewhere in the OT, it’s a summary of the commandments. See for example Deut 7:1-3

[13] And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;
·         In their exile God was good to them. What they deserved was to be wiped out entirely.

[14] Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?
·         If God had already once given grace, and they had fallen from it, then can there be any kind of real reconciliation?
·         The same thought is expressed in Hebrews 6, 10.
·         If the remnant was given grace and a second chance and deliberately turned their back on God, what else do they have except a fearful expectation of judgement?

[15] O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.
·         This is more than anything a plea for God to help, because Ezra has been broken by the power and relentlessness of their sin.

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