This week while reading the scriptures, I was drawn to this verse.
We (the Jubilee Journey group) just finished reading the book of Ezra yesterday. It is a short and wonderful book!
God’s people had been in captivity for 70 years, and the Lord prompted a pagan king to allow the Israelites to return to Jerusalem and rebuild God’s temple.
Ezra studied God’s word, and he wanted to obey God’s instructions and teach others. It had been so long since the people had done things according to the Book of the Law that they didn’t remember the instructions.
No one remembered the right way – God’s way – to conduct their lives. They had gone so wayward before heading off to foreign lands in captivity! Ezra was determined to learn and teach and show God’s people how to live in God’s will.
An old law they had forgotten was to marry within the Jewish nation and not marry from foreign nations. Foreigners worshiped idols, and inter-marrying would bring idol-worship rather than God-worship into the nation of Israel.
Through Ezra’s teaching God’s Word, the people suddenly understood and grieved over their sin of intermarrying. They renewed their covenant with God – to be obedient and committed, to cleans their hearts, their people, and get right with the Lord.
Can you imagine it? In obedience, God’s people sent away the foreigners among them and started fresh. Beloved wives and their offspring were returned to their home land. Obedience can be very hard, but they did the hard thing. The Israelites desired God’s favor again…a right relationship, so they obeyed.
They wiped the slate clean.
I wondered in what ways I’ve wandered from God’s way and don’t even realize it. So, I asked Him.
God forgave the Israelites and blessed them. He gives us such grace!
Even when we read God’s instructions daily, we sometimes fool ourselves and live in denial. If we seek to truly know the Lord and spend time with Him each day, we can feel the gentle nudge of His staff…guiding us, lovingly correcting us, drawing us closer to Him and His truth.
We show our love for Him through our obedience. He wants a relationship with all of us. That’s why He sent Jesus to be our redeemer.
He loves you so! Ask Him how to get your life right with Him…and then obey. Oh, how we each (and I) need a clean slate every day!