Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bible study

Here is the Prayer of Ezra, from Ezra 9:5-15. Read it carefully and think about whether it has any meaning for us today:

5 At the evening offering, I got up from my humiliation, with my tunic and robe torn. Then I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God. 6 And I said:

My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward You, my God, because our iniquities are higher than [our] heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens. 7 Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today. 8 But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from the LORD our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings, giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 Now, our God, what can we say in light of this? For we have abandoned the commandments 11 You gave through Your servants the prophets, saying: "The land you are entering to possess is an impure land. The surrounding peoples have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness by their impurity and detestable practices. 12 So do not give your daughters to their sons in marriage or take their daughters for your sons. Never seek their peace or prosperity, so that you will be strong, eat the good things of the land, and leave [it] as an inheritance to your sons forever." 13 After all that has happened to us because of our evil deeds and terrible guilt—though You, our God, have punished [us] less than our sins [deserve] and have allowed us to survive — 14 should we break Your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who commit these detestable practices? Wouldn't You become [so] angry with us that You would destroy us, leaving no survivors? 15 LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we survive as a remnant today. Here we are before You with our guilt, though no one can stand in Your presence because of this.


In Old Testament times, the Israelites believed God was at work daily in the life of their nation, blessing it when they were obedient to them, judging and punishing when they were not.

Modern Christians don't believe God is judging or will judge our nation. Should modern Christians rethink that position? What do you think?

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