While Ezra prayed and confessed, weeping and falling facedown before the house of God, an extremely large assembly of Israelite men, women, and children gathered around him. The people also wept bitterly. Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, an Elamite, responded to Ezra: “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the surrounding peoples, but there is still hope for Israel in spite of this. Let us therefore make a covenant before our God to send away all the foreign wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the command of our God. Let it be done according to the law. Get up, for this matter is your responsibility, and we support you. Be strong and take action!” Ezra 10:1-4
Ezra and his fellow exiles investigated all the families and found anyone who had gone against the Lord’s declaration by marrying foreign women. I don’t blame them for going through things with a fine tooth comb. They had suffered enough in exile and were finally trying to get back to the doing the right thing so they could “avert the fierce anger of God” (v.14) in this matter and any other.
The following were found to have married foreign women from the descendants of the priests: from the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. Ezra 10:18
The list of offenders continues through verse 43! Check it out. What struck me about this passage was that every offender and their descendants are listed out and in the Bible. It’s one thing to be in the news feed for a few days after a scuffle or indiscretion, but can you imagine having your sins and name listed out in the most read book of all time. Forever, in the word of God their names are there with their sin listed out.
Pondering this, I realized that to often our sins are hidden away, out of sight and tucked in our hearts so it’s easy to overlook them and move on. If we knew all our sins would be listed out in the Bible, (or tomorrow’s news feed) we might take a closer look at our actions, words and deeds throughout the day. We might think twice before giving in to sin. In fact, we might go to God on a more regular basis for forgiveness and strength to do the right thing so we can avoid the sin all together.
Even though our sins aren’t written out in the Bible, God knows every one of them and desires to clean the slate or wipe the page if go to Him and ask. Just ask! No special form, no fee and no hoops to jump through. Just ask and He will wipe the page clean for you.
How fitting that just yesterday we celebrated Easter and a Risen Savior. The one who died on the cross to cover all those nasty sins and start a new covenant with our Lord. This week ends our journey through the Old Testament and begins our adventures in the New Testament. What an awesome way to begin the New Testament as we read and study more about the Son of God who made forgiveness and eternal life for us possible with the blood He shed for us.