Talks for Growing Christians
Ezra’s Great Concern and Prayer of Confession
Lesson Number 9
- When God’s people sin there should be more remorse.
- When God’s people sin there should be confession.
- Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
- About how many Jews were in the first phase of the return from their seventy-year captivity in Babylon? Under whose leadership did they return?
- During this first return, the Jewish temple, which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, was rebuilt and finally finished in the year ___ B.C.
- Name the two prophets who motivated the people to finish the job of rebuilding the temple.
- Fifty-eight years after the temple was rebuilt, there was a second return of Jews from Babylon. Under whose leadership did they return?
- Some of the Jews were in direct disobedience to God’s law stated in Deuteronomy 7:1-How did they disobey?
- About 50,000 under the leadership of Zerubbabel in 538 B.C.
- In the year 516 B.C.
- Haggai and Zechariah.
- Under the leadership of Ezra.
- They had intermarried with the pagan foreigners in the land.
- “When Ezra heard of the sin of intermarriage with the foreigners, he tore his garment and robe, and plucked out some of the hair of his head and beard, and sat down astonished. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to him, because of the transgression…” (Ezra 9:3-4)
Ezra showed the signs of his day of mourning and remorse. When he heard of the problem, he was shocked and appalled. When sin is committed, there should be a sense of guilt and remorse in the family of God. Have you found this so in your church? If so, is there also the attitude, “There but for the grace of God, go I?”
- “Ezra arose from his fasting and fell on his knees and spread out his hands to the Lord God.”
One of the great prayers of confession in the Bible is found here in Ezra 9:5-15. Notice several truths that are recognized and acknowledged in this prayer:
Sin is a serious thing
Sin has an effect on others
Several attributes of God are listed
Can you imagine what it would be like if our own nation would pray a prayer like this? What a reawakening and revival this would bring across American and in our churches. When people sin, there should be confession. Could you do anything about encouraging such praying?
- Read 2 Corinthians 6:14. This is a practical application from Ezra 9. God’s people had married unbelievers. Make sure that you make decisions based on the truth of God’s word.
- “The people of Israel have not separated themselves from the people of the lands…” Ezra 9:1
- “I arose from my fasting…I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God.” Ezra 9:5
- “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.” Ezra 9:6
- “And now, O our God, what shall we say…for we have forsaken Your commandments.” Ezra 9:10