Wednesday, August 2, 2017

When Reality Hits Us Smack in the Face

O. T. #1,033  "When Reality Hits Us Smack in the Face"
August 2, 2017
Ezra 10-Part 2
But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  James 1:22


How do we react when reality hits us smack in the face? It may be something we do not want to hear. It might reveal our failures, our successes, or changes we need to make. It may be that  bad news from the doctor. Will we take the time to look within our self, see what God sees in our heart and life? Is it pleasing to Him?
The first group of Jews who returned to Jerusalem was hit with reality. Shall we find out how they reacted?

There was a crisis threatening the small community of exiles in Judah. It was a terrible sin that had seeped into their lives. Since they had rebuilt and dedicated the new Temple, some 75 years passed. Those Jews became caught up in the possessions and pleasures of the world and in its corrupt, immoral, and wicked behavior.
Then Ezra and the second group of returnees arrived in Jerusalem. Ezra was confronted with a crisis. The spiritual condition of the Jews so burdened him that he prayed confessing their sins to God, as well as weeping bitterly, and fasting.

One of their men were touched by his and he stepped up, challenging the Jews to respond by confessing their sins in repentance. Ezra sought the Lord's direction as he retreated to a room for prayer and fasting. Afterwards, he sent out a proclamation throughout the land of Judah and Benjamin:
  • All of the returned exiles were to assemble in Jerusalem within 3 days.
  • Those who failed to do so would forfeit all their property and be expelled from the assembly of the exiles if the leaders and elders so decided.
  • Then everyone complied with his requirement and assembled in the square before the Temple of God.
  • People were trembling because of the seriousness of the matter and because of the heavy rainfall. (It was the cold and rainy season there.)
  • Ezra spoke to the crowd, saying they had committed a terrible sin, had married pagan women, had increased Israel's guilt. He told them to confess their sin to the LORD, and do what He demands. They were to separate from the people of the land and from the pagan women. (This included divorcing their pagan spouse.)  (verses 7-11)
In other words, don't just be a hearer of the Word of God, but be a doer of the Word also. Do we have sins that have not been confessed? God is a great hearer, but are we? Do we get angry when the preacher touches on something in our lifestyle that is not pleasing to God? Or do we admit it and surrender? Repenting or rebelling?


How did the people react?
  • The whole assembly raising their voices and admitted Ezra was right, and they must do what he said.
  • They said it was not a thing to be done in a day or two, for many were involved in this extremely sinful affair.
  • Sin it was the rainy season, they could not stay out there much longer.
  • Let our leaders act on behalf of us all.
  • Let everyone who had a pagan wife come at a scheduled time accompanied by the leaders and judges of his city, so that the fierce anger of our God concerning this affair may be turned away from us. (A divorce process)
Folks, did you sense the humility of the people? They had forsaken the worship of God for idols, lived in immorality as pagans, even married those unbelievers in God and raise children in it. Those Jews were no different from their neighbors.  They had broken God's Laws. (Reality hit them smack in the face with truth. Such sins had resulted in their being taken into captivity earlier and remaining the 70 years. God could do the same thing again.)

There were only 4 men who opposed such a plan. Tomorrow, we will find out whose plans were carried out in the Jewish community.


When forced to face reality of my sins, confess them to God.

Admit my wrongs, mistakes, sins that displease God.

Do what needs to be done to correct it.

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