- The people called on Ezra
to read from the Book of the Law of God before all of the people. The
people were filled with joy and a readiness to obey which was illustrated
in their immediate participation in the festival of booths or tabernacles.
- Loving discipline brings
about repentance and a return to obedience. The exile was the type of
‘tough love’ that Israel needed.
- The people fasted, dressed
in sackcloth, covered their heads with dirt, and stood listening to the
Law of the Lord their God.
- God never gives up His
efforts on keeping His chosen people in covenant relationship with Him. At
times that may mean that we will pass through some very difficult
circumstances, but He uses those difficult circumstances to bring about
repentance and spiritual maturity on behalf o His people.
- This section begins with
the victory of Israel conquering the promised land to the point where,
“They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great
goodness” v. 25. To the very next verse that begins a vicious cycle of
disobedience, followed by deliverance, followed, once again, by
disobedience. God was always willing to extend His hand and Israel was
always ready to almost immediately forget the deliverance that they had
just received. Once again they are asking for deliverance and promising
not to reject God afterwards. God is always ready to forgive and man is
always all too quick to deny Him.
- The key verse of this
section is, “In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have
acted faithfully, while we did wrong.” 9:33. God’s actions toward
disobedient people are meant to restore not to destroy.
- The people promises:
a. Not to marry foreign women
b. Not to participate in commerce on the Sabbath
c. To bring a shekel each year for the service of the house of God
e. To bring the firstfruits offerings in according with God’s law
f. To bring their firstborn sons as well as the firstborn of their herds
g. To bring a tithe of their crops as well as the first ground meal, wine, and oil
- The people promised to give up their engagement with foreign people and their customs and promised to give the first and the best of what they had to the Lord and the service of His Temple. If we are to whole-heartedly give ourselves to the Lord it begins with our rejection of the ways of the world and with placing God first. The placing of God first in our lives is best demonstrated by our willingness to give the first and the best of our finances and resources.