Guest Blog written by: Molly Watkins
As I read today’s verses from Ezra, a recurring theme was obedience. At the very end of 2 Chronicles, the Israelites were living in great sin and would not listen to God, so he destroyed Jerusalem. Then, when the Israelites were given another chance, they started to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple of God just as he commanded. Throughout the whole book, though, others tried to discourage the Israelites from building but they kept to God’s word and he found favor in them. He was on their side and they were able to continue to build. God knows that we are not perfect, but we should live our lives everyday trying to be like him and listen to what he has commanded us to do.
Later on in the book, God sends a prophet named Ezra to teach the people his decrees and to organize the temple. Ezra saw how unclean the Israelites were and he became so discouraged he tore off his clothes and ripped out his hair. He wanted these people to just follow God’s commandments. They had been given so many chances over and over again and they couldn’t even follow one rule. Many of the men had taken pagan wives and had started following their ways. So, Ezra prayed that God would forgive these people and thanked God for not unleashing his anger on these people. He ordered that all these men divorce their wives and obey the commandments of the Lord. As soon as the Israelites saw their wrong doings they obeyed the Lord.
It shouldn’t take someone else telling us how sinful we are, we should be able to see our mistakes and obey God. Something I’ve learned from this scripture is that God is VERY forgiving and that I should be very willing to listen to what he says because then amazing things will happen. God has set rules, not to constrain us, but to help us live better lives in his name. And, one day we will be in Heaven with Him.