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The Book of Ezra in the Bible is a prime example of Godís mercy and grace. God forgave the Israelites and allowed them to go out of Babylon and back to Jerusalem. The Israelites had been in captivity for 70 years in Babylon because they did not keep the Sabbath Year that God commanded.
II Chronicles 21
To fulfill the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.
Every 7 years the ground was to remain fallow, in other words it was not supposed to be farmed. God said he would supply all their needs during that time as this was a time to worship and grow closer to Him. This commandment had not been followed so God allowed them to go into captivity to give the ground rest and to let them know that God had not forgotten what he had said.
Ezra is the leader of the second group to go back to Jerusalem. The first was led by Zerubbabel. The third leader was Nehemiah. These releases and returns were under three Kings, Cyrus. Darius, and Artaxerxes.
Each of these leaders had Godís favor upon them and received great treasures to allow them to go back and rebuild the house of God. Each group struggled to complete rebuilding the Temple of God including facing severe opposition from their unhappy neighbors. In Ezraís group there were many of the Israelites found to have married heathen women and were raising families. These intermarriages were entirely forbidden by God.
These intermarriages caused Ezra to mourn and grieve, because he knew that the people had disobeyed God and he did not know what to do about it. Ezraís anguish stirred the people to again seek God and His favor.
We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel.
The people had to acknowledge their sin and made a covenant with God to take action and put away their foreign wives and children. I am sure that this could not have been an easy thing to do but realized that it was necessary in order to regain Godís favor and protection.
Sometimes, we can lose our way and get outside of the will of God and do things our own way. When things begin to go wrong and we want God to work in our favor, we have to turn from our wicked ways and ask Him to correct our path. If we are sincere and confess our sin, God will forgive us and give us a second chance.
God gave us His son Jesus who died for our sins so that we can have a new beginning and a fresh start when we ask for forgiveness, and begin to follow Christís example and Godís Word. No matter where you are in your life right now, if you are ready, God is waiting for you with open arms.
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