Tuesday, November 15, 2022

FASTING for grief and guidance

 Ezra 8:21-23

King James Version

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, 

at the river of Ahava, 

that we might afflict ourselves before our God, 

to seek of him a right way for us, 

and for our little ones, and for all our substance.

22 For I was ashamed to require of the king 

a band of soldiers and horsemen 

to help us against the enemy in the way: 

because we had spoken unto the king, 

saying, 

The hand of our God is upon all them for good 

that seek him; 

but his power and his wrath is against all them 

that forsake him.

23 So we fasted and besought our God for this:

and he was intreated of us.


The lovely verses above speak of Ezra, the priest, scribe of the law of God, and his appeal to the GOD of Israel.

But Ezra heard of something sorrowful:

Ezra 9:1-2

King James Version

9 Now when these things were done, 

the princes came to me, 

saying, 

The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, 

have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, 

doing according to their abominations, 

even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, 

the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, 

the Egyptians, and the Amorites.

2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, 

and for their sons: 

so that the holy seed 

have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: 

yea, the hand of the princes and rulers 

hath been chief in this trespass.


This really broke Ezra's heart.

Ezra 9:3-6

King James Version

3 And when I heard this thing, 

I rent my garment and my mantle, 

and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, 

and sat down astonied.

4 Then were assembled unto me every one 

that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, 

because of the transgression 

of those that had been carried away; 

and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.

5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; 

and having rent my garment and my mantle, 

I fell upon my knees, 

and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God,

6 And said, 

O my God, 

I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, 

my God: 

for our iniquities are increased over our head, 

and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.


In shame, the people gathered around Ezra.

Ezra 10:1-5

King James Version

10 Now when Ezra had prayed, 

and when he had confessed, 

weeping and casting himself down 

before the house of God, 

there assembled unto him out of Israel 

a very great congregation of men 

and women and children: 

for the people wept very sore.

2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, 

one of the sons of Elam, 

answered and said unto Ezra, 

We have trespassed against our God, 

and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: 

yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.

3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God 

to put away all the wives, 

and such as are born of them, 

according to the counsel of my lord, 

and of those that tremble 

at the commandment of our God; 

and let it be done according to the law.

4 Arise; 

for this matter belongeth unto thee: 

we also will be with thee: 

be of good courage, and do it.

5 Then arose Ezra, 

and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, 

to swear that they should do according to this word. 

And they sware.


Then, Ezra fasted again.

Ezra 10:6

King James Version

6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, 

and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: 

and when he came thither, 

he did eat no bread, 

nor drink water: 

for he mourned because of the transgression of them 

that had been carried away.


And he made the people send away their strange wives.

Ezra 10:11-12

King James Version

11 Now therefore make confession 

unto the Lord God of your fathers, 

and do his pleasure: 

and separate yourselves from the people of the land, 

and from the strange wives.

12 Then all the congregation answered 

and said with a loud voice, 

As thou hast said, so must we do.


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