Trembling at the Word of God!
Scripture reading for May 7th: Ezra 9-10
“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” Ezra 7:10
Ezra was a devoted man with a calling on his life. He understood from the study of God’s Word, that obedience brought blessing and disobedience brought a curse. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 14-15) He had devoted himself to obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those in Israel to do the same. God’s gracious hand was upon him as he set out for Jerusalem. (Ezra 8:22) His task was primarily spiritual restoration. The broken down state of the Temple was a symptom of the deterioration of the spiritual life of God’s people and the result of forsaking obedience to the Law of God.
As Ezra arrived in Jerusalem and set things in order, it came to his attention that the priests and Levites had not kept themselves separate from the pagan peoples and practices of the Canaanites. They had inter-married and this had led to idolatry and unfaithfulness to the Lord. (Ezra 9:1-2) Ezra responded by an immediate humbling of himself before the Lord. He tore his clothes, pulled hair from his head and beard, and sat down appalled until evening. Others who “trembled at the words of the God of Israel” sat with him. (Ezra 9:3-4) Ezra then prayed a prayer of confession and repentance that pours out the grief and anguish that they were feeling for the sins among God’s people. (Ezra 9:6-15)
Repentance isn’t complete with just “trembling at the Word of God”. Conviction of sin is only the first part and if genuine, it leads to action. In this case, a convocation was called in three days to deal with this situation and an investigation brought out those who had disobeyed the Lord. One hundred eleven men are listed as guilty of mixed marriages and they agreed to send their wives away. What a serious turn-around and costly action was taken to bring God’s blessing on His people again! Would that we all would “tremble at the Word of the Lord!” May our trembling lead to action that brings true repentance that leaves no regrets. (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)