The final chapter of Ezra, the scribe, we discover a couple of interesting observations; one of which is very encouraging to every saint of God who has dropped the ball so to speak. We also read the status of a very sobering thought concerning keeping the commandments of the Lord. Many ancient writers join Ezra and Nehemiah as one book with two different perspectives; one from the priest and another from the market place.
During a season of prayer, Ezra realized how strongly the Lord felt about the transgressions of the captives that had returned to Jerusalem. He offers personal and identificatonal repentenance; made a vow concerning the “pagan wives”. His prayer was so captivating and intense that the people joined with Ezra on behalf of themselves as well as the nation.
In this season of prayer it was determined to have the pagan wives separate from their Jewish husbands; which in effect cut them off from being a part of the covenant. This wasn’t a unilateral decision, but an agreed upon resolution to the dire situation they were facing. A day was set by the leadership which was negotiated, due to the time of year (December) and the vast number of those who were guilty of the transgression.
It is in this setting we discover the “hope” and encouragement we all can benefit from and give to others. In verse two, Shechaniah stood and declared “yet now there is hope in Israel in spited of this.” That is, the transgression of taking the pagan wives.
The encouragement being there is HOPE for the vilest of sinners if they’ll come to the Lord in repentance and humility. No one is beyond redemption!
Secondly we discover that there were leaders who had transgressed and gotten caught up in the politically correct status. Leaders need to guard themselves from succumbing to these strategies. The best way to do so is stay close to the Lord and be accountable to other brothers and sisters.
Never forget though; THERE IS HOPE!