How Obedience took place

Ever wondered how it’s sometimes difficult to obey? Like obeying your parents, or your teachers, or simply elders?

As I was reading the book of Ezra, I figured how the people of Israel DIRECTLY obeyed the Word of God.

While Ezra was down on his knees in front of God’s temple, praying with tears in his eyes, and confessing the sins of the people of Israel, a large number of men, women, and children gathered around him and cried bitterly.

Shecaniah son of Jehiel from the family of Elam said:

Ezra, we have disobeyed God by marrying these foreign women. But there is still hope for the people of Israel, if we follow your advice and the advice of others who truly respect the laws of God. We must promise God that we will divorce our foreign wives and send them away, together with their children.

Ezra, it’s up to you to do something! We will support whatever you do. So be brave!

Ezra stood up and made the chief priests, the Levites, and everyone else in Israel swear that they would follow the advice of Shecaniah. Then Ezra left God’s temple and went to spend the night in the living quarters of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. He felt sorry for what the people had done, and he did not eat or drink a thing.

7-8 The officials and leaders sent a message to all who had returned from Babylonia and were now living in Jerusalem and Judah. It told them to meet in Jerusalem within three days, or else they would lose everything they owned and would no longer be considered part of the people that had returned from Babylonia.

Three days later, on the twentieth day of the ninth month,[a] everyone from Judah and Benjamin came to Jerusalem and sat in the temple courtyard. It was a serious meeting, and they sat there, trembling in the rain.

10 Ezra the priest stood up and said:

You have broken God’s Law by marrying foreign women, and you have made the whole nation guilty!11 Now you must confess your sins to the Lord God of your ancestors and obey him. Divorce your foreign wives and don’t have anything to do with the rest of the foreigners who live around here.

12 Everyone in the crowd shouted:

You’re right! We will do what you say. 13 But there are so many of us, and we can’t just stay out here in this downpour. A lot of us have sinned by marrying foreign women, and the matter can’t be settled in only a day or two.

14 Why can’t our officials stay on in Jerusalem and take care of this for us? Let everyone who has sinned in this way meet here at a certain time with leaders and judges from their own towns. If we take care of this problem, God will surely stop being so terribly angry with us.

15 Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah were the only ones who objected, except for the two Levites, Meshullam and Shabbethai.

16 Everyone else who had returned from exile agreed with the plan. So Ezra the priest chose menwho were heads of the families, and he listed their names. They started looking into the matter on the first day of the tenth month,17 and they did not finish until the first day of the first month of the next year.

These people knew that they had sinned against God by Marrying Foreign women, and thus saw the hurt and pleading of Ezra to forgive them, but even before Ezra asked for forgiveness for these people, God already knew that they were to repent. Look at how easily they obeyed God?

Ezra, we have disobeyed God by marrying these foreign women. But there is still hope for the people of Israel, if we follow your advice and the advice of others who truly respect the laws of God. We must promise God that we will divorce our foreign wives and send them away, together with their children.

-Ezra 10:2-3

They knew that they had disobeyed God, and that they fell into worldly desires but they were so ready to divorce these foreign women just to please God. They even promised to send them away together with their children. Sometimes we might ask, Isn’t that too much? But even when these men had close ties and relationship with these foreign women (they even had families together), the fact that they disobeyed God stood, and that they were ready to let them go. You might wonder how they could stand to be apart from their children, but still the fact that they knew they disobeyed God still stood. It was like nothing else matters as long as they repent and ask for forgiveness for the sins they made, and that they were to start anew and OBEY God. How’s that sound? These men even wanted to divorce as fast as they could.

Everyone in the crowd shouted:

You’re right! We will do what you say. 13 But there are so many of us, and we can’t just stay out here in this downpour. A lot of us have sinned by marrying foreign women, and the matter can’t be settled in only a day or two. -Ezra 10:12-13

They were so fed up with how they disobeyed God, that they wanted it to stop the fastest way possible. How’s that for Obedience?

They started looking into the matter on the first day of the tenth month,17 and they did not finish until the first day of the first month of the next year. -Ezra 10:17

You could see here how desperate these men were to stop it once again. And, they did not finish until the first day of the first month of the next year…This just clearly means that there were really a lot (probably tons) of men who fell deep into sin and followed worldly ways, but look at how they regretted it once they knew they sinned? Their response was quick and fast. They had to OBEY God because they RESPECT God.

And look at how some of us easily disobeys others. We wouldn’t listen to our parents, or teachers, or leaders, and even elders. Mere facts that we clearly hate to obey, means that we don’t respect these people. If we know what right thing to do, we wouldn’t continue these ways because we know God is looking, and is not glad nor happy at what we’re doing. God calls us to obey Him, and if we obey Him, then we could easily obey these people around us as well. Just like Israelites, they knew that what they were doing wasn’t pleasing God, and they were doing the wrong thing. Once they figured this out, they were ready to Obey once again, because they knew that God calls them to do it. We as well are called to obey, not just because we’re told to, but because it’s what God calls us to do. And if we don’t obey, we don’t respect, which means that if we don’t obey God, we don’t respect Him as well. Isn’t that hurtful enough? Have faith in God, Obey Him, and Love others. When we have faith, we obey and love. Everything wonderful follows. 😀

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