ISSL Reflections April 11, 2021, Ezra 10:1-12 Post 1

First, a short aside, please. When I started this project to offer suggestions for reflections on the Scripture passages that are part of the International Sunday School Lessons (also sometimes called the Uniform Series) I knew this would take me to Scripture passages that I would probably not select on my own. That is, I would not count the passages as among my “favorite” scriptures. I felt that was a good thing for me. And here we are this week with a passage that I would just as soon avoid dealing with because I find it troublesome. But, it is part of what we have come to call “Holy Scripture” and as such is put before us for our reading and our reflection in the context of the entirety of Scripture.

Our focus this week will be on Ezra 10:1-12. But to best see the picture painted here it will be good to read the entirety of Ezra 9 and 10.

We will start with the focus passage below.

As you read it pay attention to not only the passage but how it impacts you. What do you feel about the situation? What draws your attention? What does it ask you to affirm? What makes you uncomfortable?

Ezra 10:1-12

While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him out of Israel; the people also wept bitterly. Shecaniah son of Jehiel, of the descendants of Elam, addressed Ezra, saying, “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. So now let us make a covenant with our God to send away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Take action, for it is your duty, and we are with you; be strong, and do it.” Then Ezra stood up and made the leading priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear that they would do as had been said. So they swore

Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God, and went to the chamber of Jehohanan son of Eliashib, where he spent the night. He did not eat bread or drink water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles. They made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, and that if any did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all their property should be forfeited, and they themselves banned from the congregation of the exiles.

Then all the people of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days; it was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. All the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain. Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have trespassed and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. Now make confession to the Lord the God of your ancestors, and do his will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said.

What do you think of Ezra?

What is his passion?

What do you think motivates him to pray and act as he does?

Do you like the portrait of Ezra offered here? Would you want him as a friend? As an advisor? Do you think he is the kind of person you would “naturally” seek advice and counsel from?

And to go back to the questions I asked earlier – What do you feel about the situation. What draws your attention? What does it ask you to affirm? What makes you uncomfortable?

Please spend some time with this Scripture and notice what it presents and your reactions.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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