Ezra 9

Let this be the comfort of true penitents, that though their sins have piled up to heaven, God’s mercy is in the heavens and if we confess our sins, trusting to the sacrificed One, God is faithful and just to forgive, and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.

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.

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.

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,

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.

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.

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.

10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,

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.

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.

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;

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?

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.

Ezra 9 – A Leader’s Sorrows for His People’s Sins

   The mingling of the holy seed with heathen peoples was always the curse of Israel, and it has been the temptation of God’s children in every age. Do we sufficiently tremble at the words of the God of Israel because of our sins or those of others? The humiliation and anguish of soul experienced by Ezra and his associates are a great rebuke to us. We are indignant, but we do not view sin from God’s standpoint. Notice the humility of his prayer, I blush to lift up my face; its vicarious confession of sin; its acknowledgment of God’s grace in giving a little reviving; its recital of the aggravation which had dyed their sin of a deeper hue. Israel was intended to live in Canaan as a separated people. The land itself could not yield its good, or remain their permanent inheritance on condition of their fidelity to God. When confession of sin has been made, let us stand before God claiming forgiveness, acceptance, and cleansing, through the precious blood of Christ, I John 1:7. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Ezra 9:1—The people have not separated themselves.

   This was only too true! There had been, on the part of princes and rulers, gross intermarriage with the people of surrounding lands. The holy seed had become mixed and diluted. And it was the more sad that this should have taken place, when it was to cleanse His people from such alliances, and the evils to which they inevitably led, that God had passed them through the purging fires of the seventy years’ captivity. It afflicted the good Ezra sorely. With every sign of Oriental grief he poured out his soul before God. And this is the lesson we should carry with us. It has been truly said that communion with the Lord dries many tears, but it starts many more. We no longer sorrow with the sorrow of the world; but we become burdened with some of the griefs that still rend the heart of the Lord in the glory.
   This fellowship between the Lord’s people and the world is becoming increasingly close as we near the end of the age. In the appointments of our homes, our amusements, books, and practices, there is very little to choose between the one and the other. If there is any distinction, it lies in a certain sadness with which Christians take their pleasures, as though remembering a something better. But the rest of us do not grieve over it; we do not rend our clothes: we do not take these things to heart, as though they especially concerned us.
   Let us at least separate ourselves after the manner of Christ, who frequented the temple, acknowledged the State, accepted invitations to great houses; but His heart and speech always revolved about His Father. What if it led to our being cast out without the camp! —Our Daily Homily

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11 Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to ______________ it, is an unclean ________ with the ____________________ of the people of the lands, with their ________________________, which have filled it from one end to another with their ______________________.

12 Now therefore give not your __________________ unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your ________, nor seek their __________ or their ____________ for ever: that ye may be ____________, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an ______________________ to your children for ever.

15 O LORD God of Israel, thou art __________________: for we remain yet ______________, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our ____________________: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.