Monday, 24 August 2020
Question of the day: What is Ezra's problem?
Answer: Ezra becomes convicted of the sin of the Israelites, Levites, and priests. Ezra 9:15 "Adonai, God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left this day as a remnant. Behold, here we are before You in our guilt; because of it no one can stand before You."
Every time we come to a question of the day, the following question is, "Why is this important to us?" If you already know the answer, don't read the rest of this post. Today, we have the benefit of knowing history. We also have the benefit of knowing our Lord and His commandments.
Knowledge of the Lord and His ways has never been so ubiquitous in all of history. Maybe there are those who are ignorant, but not us. We are the people of God. We are+the people who have received Him as our personal Lord and Savior, have read His word and studied His commands, and have trusted in Him.
We know what Paul wrote to the Corinthians has been canonized. Paul begins to write a message, but quickly turns to speak prophetically on behalf of God. 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 "What agreement does God's Temple have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God - just as God said, 'I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from among them, and be separate,' says Adonai. 'Touch no unclean thing. Then I will take you in. I will be a father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says Adonai-Tzva'ot.'"
This is the same issue with which Ezra had to deal. We are in the world, but we have been called out, called to not be "of" the world. Yet today, much of the body of Messiah is both walking in sin and embracing it. God is calling His people to righteousness (according to how He defines righteousness). Since when should we be more concerned with making someone feel bad than urging them to attain to God's righteous standard.
That previous paragraph is directed mostly at "them" when it should mostly be directed at us. Matthew 7:5 "Hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Many have used this verse to not judge another. That's not the message. First, fix yourself, THEN "take the speck ..."
Yes, the Bible says "judge not," but that means "do not condemn." We don't pronounce the verdict on anyone, that is reserved for God alone. But we are called to have plenty of discernment. If God's people don't call sin for what it is, sin, then who will? That's why these two chapters at the end of Ezra are so important to us. We are all children of Israel, given another opportunity to build God's house. Unless we take heed, we will come under God's judgment. Instead, let's repent and walk in love, grace and obedience.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,