SEPTEMBER 17, 2021 READINGS... Ezra 9:1-10:44 & Nehemiah 1:1-2:20
Ezra the priest heart is broken because of the great sin of those who had returned from exile. It seems history was repeating itself…even after seventy years in exile the people had not learned to obey the Lord. The Lord had commanded all the way back to Moses that when the people were in the land they were not to inner-marry with the pagan people of the land. This command had nothing to do with ethnicity, but with the fact that these foreigners would lead the nation of Israel into idolatry. It happened just that way despite warning to the people before the exile, and resulted in the exile…and now that they are back in the land they have resumed their evil practices. Ezra falls on his face before the Lord in personal and national repentance. Then he gets up and calls the people of Judah back to the Lord. They were to put away their pagan wives and live lives that are singularly devoted to God…they were to keep His commands, lest His judgement come again. For the most part the people did as they were told in an effort to cleanse the land from paganism and idolatry. Are we willing to let the Holy Spirit show us the things open our lives that He wants us to remove, so that we can live lives fully devoted to God?
We begin the book of Nehemiah today. Nehemiah is trouble of the reports of the condition of Jerusalem and it’s walls. A city without walls, was not a city. When he, as the king’s cup bearer, went before Artaxerxes, the king noticed that his countenance was sad. Nehemiah explained the situation in Jerusalem, and the king allowed him to return to rebuild the city. The king also gave a letter for Nehemiah’s safe return, and for timber from the king’s forest to be provided for him. Of course there was opposition in the land. Nehemiah returned secretly into the city in order to survey the situation. He began the work with confidence that the Lord of heaven would give them great success. When things are not right it ought to disturb us. It also ought move us to action, being led by the Holy Spirit…knowing that the Lord will give us His success.
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading.
TOMORROW’S READINGS… Nehemiah 3:1-7:3