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Tuesday: Ezra Reacts — 13 Comments

  1. I doubt whether anyone these days would seriously suggest that marriages between believers and non-believers should end by church edict. Such an edict would provide fodder for social media and give the TV current affairs programs enough grist to make them profitable for a season. That does not diminish the seriousness of the situation though and we need to think carefully about what we do these days.

    Of course we try and admonish our young people to do the right thing and choose their partners carefully. But anyone who has had young people in their family and have tried to support them through the "falling in love" process, know full well that in most cases you are talking to a brick wall. My daughter had a non-Adventist boyfriend for a while, it eventually faded and then she had an Adventist boyfriend. They had about as much chance of success as a pound of butter in a volcano. and fortunately that one faded too eventually. All I know has a parent is that we had to stand by her and let her know that we still loved her throughout this very tempestuous time. All the words of admonishment and criticism fell onto teflon coated ears and slipped into oblivion. Now, with my daughter happily married with two children, I can breath a sigh of relief - well - almost. Being the grandfather of two teenage boys who are just starting to realise that girls are attractive means that we have got to weather the next generation as well.

    The point is that you can quote scripture and give admonition until the chickens fly to their roosts. At the end of the day, you children will make their own decisions and have to live with them. The "bad decision" cases that I have witnessed that have had the best outcomes have always been the ones where those who have made the bad decisions have been loved and supported by family and by church. Loving grandparents, caring church members, sympathetic pastors, and supportive friends have all contributed to retaining the faith and rebuilding the trust of those who have made bad decisions.

    Amen!(56)
    • Hi Maurice. I am a young person who at one point dated outside the Adventist faith. though very painful, I thank God it ended. I am currenly in my early 30s and single but VERY content in my singlehood. I can truly say God's "DO NOT(s)" are for our own benefit and if we could only obey we would spare ourselves a lot of pain and misery. I wont even talk about the compromise issue as that one is inevitable. Can two walk together unless they agree Amos asks. the answer is an EMPHATIC NO! One thing I have since realised however is, intermarriages with unbelievers is not only limited to romantic marriage relationships but propagates to all areas of our lives. We just have to be extra cautious of the relationships and friendships we form. BLESSING(s).

      Amen!(13)
  2. Ezra's mourning isn't some kind of show. The sins of the leaders of the nation rip at his heart. He is beside himself with anguish for Judah because he knows history. He knows the Word. He knows how punishment for these very sins have been visited upon the nation in the past, and he can see that happening in the future. But he can also see God's mercy. And that brings him to prayer.

    "5 Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God 6 and prayed." (Ezra 9:5-6a)

    Observe Ezra's posture of humility and supplication. For the most part, Hebrews pray standing (Luke 18:10-13). But kneeling indicates a special kind of humbling oneself before someone who is greater. We see it especially in earnest prayers (Daniel 6:10; Acts 9:40; Psalm 96:6; Matthew 18:26; Luke 22:41-42) -- in Solomon, for example.

    "When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the LORD, he rose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven." (1 Kings 8:54)

    Amen!(9)
  3. Although the account of Ezra chapter 9:1&2 looks surprising for us readers.
    When we look at the history of occupation by the conquerors this makes perfect sense.
    Those who have migrated with the army would have settled in the land.
    As they settled in the land the culture between each nation became intermingled.

    People in power tend to follow these guidelines to stay in power
    1) Give leadership positions to people who would compromise with them.
    2) Educate the people with rewriting the history in favor of the people in power.
    3) All the wealth of the country gets exported into imperial rule.
    4) Living condition of the people are at poverty or below poverty line.

    Given these points, it is not surprising the leadership in Israel compromised on their principle especially the tribe of Levi.
    From the last weeks lesson study, we learned how the priesthood had to leave the priestly work in the sanctuary.
    The temple in ruin the people would not have supported the church thus the Levites were forced into accommodating life style.
    We don't hear the same kind of preaching from the bible. Thus saith the Lord has been replaced ear pleasing sermons.
    When we need to live disciplined life, we are living a disobedient life.
    It is only by staying disciplined one can live the straight and narrow life.

    Doing Things God's way - Pastor Randy Skeete
    "Most churches don't like discipline.
    Members do what they like.
    Flight attendance dress the same way.
    Restaurants waitress and waitresses are dressed the same way.
    Army they dress the same way.
    Come to church, people will do whatever they like.
    The only place where discipline is not appreciated is the church. "

    The one place where discipline makes eternal difference we are complacent.
    It is easy for us to compromise work a little longer, give into the appetite, or extend the truth based on circumstance.
    Stories of Daniel and his friends are read easily in the bible, how do we live the life faith?
    We strive to hard and fail miserably because we don't surrender to the Spirit.
    He who has created this world by the spoken word is able to recreate in us the newness of life.

    Amen!(16)
    • "Most churches don't like discipline. Members do what they like..."

      Before we can address a problem constructively, we first need to understand the problem in detail. It is only by understanding clearly and accurately the cause of the problem that more (rather than less) effective responses can be developed. This is not an easy nor simple process. Jesus spent 3 years working on this with his disciples and at the end of that 3 years, there was still a considerable way to go in the disciple's growth and development.

      So, as a start point, what are the possible reasons why (a) most churches don't like discipline and why (b) members do what they like?

      Amen!(8)
  4. Yes we must have done (which eventually we all do) wrongs in the past. But today is the opportunity that everyone has to do things right. The problem with us is that we sometimes do not forget the past. The past is gone and all we have os today. We have to decide today Who we will follow. It does not matter if my neighbor or friend, ir co-worker has done to me. What matters is the chance now! Now is what we got. That's why forgiveness is such a good practice!

    Amen!(1)
    • Prayer is a good starting point but should be followed with action. Making them alway feel welcome in spite to their choices is a good start to our actions.

      Amen!(3)
  5. "putting away" the 'strange women and their children' - this must have been very difficult, I presume they were returned to their parents, if not, who would look after them?
    What was the marriage practices in those days? Does anyone know?
    In some countries a woman's parent gave a dowry to the husband and if they divorce he has to give it back to her or her family.
    In Africa it is common practice for the husband to pay "lobola" an amount of money or number of cattle to the woman's family
    Nelson Mandela practiced the custom, by paying a lobolo of 60 cows for his wife, Graça Machel.

    My question is did these Jewish men have to also make financial
    arrangements for returning these women?

    Amen!(3)
  6. Question about what exactly happened to the women and children of the Levite priests who were married during the time of Ezra 9 and Neh. 13. Did these priests help their idolatrous wives and children with food and a means to live?

    Amen!(3)
    • Ezra's reaction should be studied in the context of Hoshea's love for Gomer where he did everything to regain his adulterous wife - how God would regain His sinful people though in their continuous rebellion against His will. Thus a Christian must not be too eager to put away his/her spouse, using Ezra as an excuse. Hoshea's reaction further requires one to provide for the separated spouse's livelihood.

      Amen!(1)
    • Note Nehemiah’s comment: “their children spoke half of the time in the language of Ashdod, and could not speak in the language of Judah. Instead, they spoke in the languages of various peoples.” (Nehemiah 13:24, ISV.) The issue here is that these women who married into God’s family, that is, the children of Israel, chose to remain idolaters, that is, to speak the language of idolatry, to keep its practices and to school their children in idolatry and its practices.

      These women were not like Ruth the Moabitess, who clearly declared “Wherever you go, I'll go. Wherever you live, I'll live. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I'll die and be buried. May the LORD do this to me—and more—if anything except death comes between you and me." (Ruth 1:16-17, ISV.)

      The practice of the time is that a woman would be returned by the husband to her father’s family and her father would take care of her and the children. Unless the woman was unfaithful, the father and the husband would negotiate terms, which in an agrarian economy would typically be a number of animals provided by the husband to provide compensation to the father for the perpetual support of the woman and her children.

      Amen!(1)
  7. It is interesting to me as to how Nehemiah's reaction is to one extreme of violence to his subjects and Ezra's is to the opposite extreme also of violence but the violence is to himself. But Jesus never imposed any kind of violence to anyone at all when He was here, even to Himself.

    Amen!(1)

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