The bulk of the reading today was the book of Ezra. This is an interesting section of scripture. The Israelites are finally being let out of bondage by Cyrus king of Persia. They are coming back to Jerusalem and rebuilding the temple to the Lord. Ezra became the head priest and leader of the people at that time. Ezra was a direct descendant of Aaron – about 16 generation later. Scripture says that Ezra was a man who, “…devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10)
It’s clear that Ezra was a true man of God and that he led the people well, but some of this book is difficult for me to understand. A good portion of the last chapters focus on Ezra being convicted that the people had become too intermarried with non-Jews (foreigners). In fact, it goes into great detail about his sermon to the people and their own conviction of the sin in their lives. Then it goes into detail to name each of the men who married a foreign woman and the ones who had children by them. It makes it seem like these men sent these woman and children away to live somewhere else as a way of “cleansing” their sin, but it’s not clear as to what happened to them. I understand the importance to obeying they law, but what became of these families that were broken up and what of their wives and children? Maybe I’ll find out in reading later in scripture. For now, I will just have to wonder why? (If you know or I missed something – comment and let me know) One thing is for sure. Ezra helped lead the people to become more fully devoted to the Lord.