Do you remember from last time how to the people watched Ezra’s grief and prayer and how they committed to change and followed it through with deliberate action? Today we read from Ezra 10:18-44.
18 Now there were found some of the sons of the priests who had married foreign women: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah, some of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brothers. 19 They pledged themselves to put away their wives, and their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt. 20 Of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah. 21 Of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. 22 Of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.
23 Of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24 Of the singers: Eliashib. Of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.
25 And of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Hashabiah, and Benaiah. 26 Of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah. 27 Of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza. 28 Of the sons of Bebai were Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai. 29 Of the sons of Bani were Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth. 30 Of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh. 31 Of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah. 33 Of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei. 34 Of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu. 38 Of the sons of Binnui: Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43 Of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All these had married foreign women, and some of the women had even borne children.
When I first saw this list I thought… oh yippee… it’s a bunch of names of people I don’t who they are. Big yip. I’m sorry… it’s hard for me to get excited about a list of names. Then I took a closer look.
Do you see who some of these people are?
- some of the sons of the priests
- of the Levites
- of the singers
- of the gatekeepers
- of the sons of Israel
This sin of marrying foreigners, of marrying people not of God, wasn’t just confined to the common folk but had found it’s way into the leadership and the church. Or maybe it started with the leadership and the church and worked it’s way down into the common folk. Either way, it was a pervasive sin.
And the people set their wives aside. They followed God’s will from the leadership down to the common folk. EVERYONE in the land made the decision to be obedient to God. Doesn’t knowing that make reading a list of names a good thing to do?
It’s seeing families change….did you read the list of sons who had committed this deed? Sons that now would be following God more closely?
I am sure there would have been pain involved in doing so.. cause “some of the women had even borne children“. Can you imagine having to say good-bye to them? Some hearts would have been badly bruised I’m thinking in this step of obedience. God calls us though to fully be HIS people. Not a divided one.
We need to remember that. I need to remember that.