“We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3 So now let us make a covenant with our God…” (10:2).
The close of the book of Ezra is intensely solemn, and perhaps, even disheartening. But sin is always serious, and the consequences are most often devastating.
As the Lord enlightened the eyes of the returnees to the gravity of their sin through intermarriage, and as they witnessed the weeping Ezra throwing himself down before the Lord in agony over the state of the people, they were now directly confronted with the absolute magnitude of their offense in choosing relationship with the world over their God.
And in that brief moment, touched by the grace of God, they felt the weight of their unfaithfulness, and lamented as those who have no hope.
Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept bitterly. 2 Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; (10:1).
But it was in that very place, that place of profound mourning, that place of inconsolable remorse, that they found Hope.
yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3 So now let us make a covenant with our God…” (10:2).
And as they acknowledged the depth of their sin, the intensity of their transgression against the God of Israel, they came face to face with the only Hope they had. And in that brief moment of recognition, they were moved to renew their faith and reliance in that which God alone offers, Hope.
In God’s Sovereign authority, He had chosen to make Himself known through a relationship with His children. And from the beginning He called them to be set apart as His own.
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth,” (Deuteronomy 14:2).
And in His Covenant, His Offer of Hope for eternity was firmly established.
He has remembered His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
9 The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac.
10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant, (Psalm 105:8).
Consider His Offer of Hope
- His Offer of Hope through His Covenant
- I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God,” (Genesis 17:7-8).
- His Offer of Hope through our repentance
- “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3 So now let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives and their children…” (10:2-3).
- His Offer of Hope through His Commands
- “…according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God;” , (10:3).
- His Offer of Hope through our obedience
- “…and let it be done according to the law,” (10:3).
How do we respond to His Offer of Hope?
His Covenant, offered and confirmed in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, saves, secures and seals us by His Holy Spirit for all eternity.
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory, (Ephesians 1:13-14).
While the promises of His eternal Covenant will be fulfilled by Him and for His glory, there are some promises that are conditional on our adherence in order to receive the benefit of things being well with us while here on earth.
“But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you,’” (Jeremiah 7:23).
If we desire to reap eternal blessings during our temporal lifetime, there are conditions that must be adhered to.
…godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come, (1 Timothy 4:8).
As we build our lives on His Word, we will be blessed and strengthened to withstand the storms that so often accompany our journey through life.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock,” (Matthew 7:24-25).
However, the sad truth is, we are often drawn away from the Rock to go and play in the dirt of the world. But even then, He is faithful to graciously and mercifully extend His Offer of Hope.
And if we would just remember and ponder the price He paid to Offer Hope through His Covenant, would we not be moved to do away with every competing tug of the world?
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins,” (Matthew 26:27-28).
But even when we let Him down, even when we fall short and fail miserably, He has provided His means to Offer Hope, through our repentance.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9).
Oh, that we would be quick to confess anything that hinders our fellowship with Him; that we would be strengthened in our faith to live and walk in His Offer of Hope offered through His Commands; believing that His every Command is for our good, always.
So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. 25 It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us, (Deuteronomy 6:24-25).
And oh, that we would grow to love Him more than our attachments to the world, to believe His Offer of Hope is an invitation to a profound love relationship with the Almighty Creator of the universe! An invitation best accepted and expressed through our obedience.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” (John 14:15).