1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
Ezra is the first of six post captivity books. In chapters 1-6 we find: National Restoration. In chapters 7-10 we find: Spiritual Renewal.
The two elements of spiritual renewal are:
#1. Confession (human element)
#2. Cleansing (divine element)
In Chapter nine we find:
1 Now when these things were done, 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.
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.
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.
#1. A Lack of Separation (vs. 1-2)
#2. A Load of Sorrow (vs. 3-4)
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 Lordmy God,
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.
#3. Sacrifice and Submission (vs. 5)
#4. Shame (Vs. 6)
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.
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.
#5. A Space of Grace (vs.8-9)
1 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.
2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.
3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
4 Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.
5 Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they sware.
Seven Mandates For Spiritual Renewal:
#1. There Must Be: Crying. (vs. 1-2)
#2. There Must Be: Commitment. (vs. 3-5)
#3. There Must Be: Courage. (vs. 4)
#4. There Must Be: Continuation. (vs. 4)
#5. There Must Be: Consecration (vs.6)
#6. There Must Be: A COMING TOGETHER. (vs. 7)
#7. There Must Be: Confession. (vs. 11)
#8. There Must Be: CONGREGATIONAL LEADERS. (vs. 14)
We have a task too big to do within ourselves. Notice Ezra chapter seven.
9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of his statutes to Israel.
How To Regain Our Strength For Service:
#1. We need the good hand of the God upon us. (vs. 9)
#2. We need to prepare our hearts. (vs. 10)
#3. We need to seek the Lord. (vs. 10)
#4. We need to study His Word. (vs. 10)
#5. We need to be doers of the Word also. (vs. 10)
#6. We need to teach others also. (vs. 10)
Fellowship Baptist News
A place to catch up on the latest events...