Praise and Worship in Ezra
Praise in Ezra
Stirring hearts to do his work (1:1)
Protecting his people during difficult journeys (2:1-58)
Preserving a remnant of faithful followers during hard times (2:64)
Providing skilled workers, artists, and musicians, who can help us turn our heart to god by their work (3:7-11)
Giving us faithful leaders who refuse to compromise the purity of worship (4:3)
Working through powerful rulers and officials to accomplish his will (6:1-11; 7:28)
Granting us opportunities for celebration (6:16)
Showing favor to us despite our sin (9:8).
Worship in Ezra
In Christianity, the uniting of a man and woman in marriage is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. The marriage bond should be taken seriously, and most Christians believe it should not be dissolved except in cases of desertion or infidelity by one of the partners. Christians, then, must find Ezra’s command to divorce as one of the Bible’s saddest incidents.
Perhaps it is hard for us to appreciate the choice Ezra placed before the people of Israel. Culture today caters to the individual, and the question of whom and how to worship is usually considered a personal matter, as is the question of whom to marry. But this was not so in ancient Israel; worship was just as much a public matter as it was a private one, and the covenant God established with Israel strictly forbade them to intermarry with their heathen neighbors. To marry a pagan, then, called into question a person’s commitment to God. And since Judah’s exile to Babylon, the traditions of Israelite worship had been hanging by a thread, so every effort needed to be made to restore organized worship in Judah.
The decision to divorce their non-Jewish wives was an agonizing one for the men of Jerusalem. The Bible records the names of a few leaders who opposed Ezra, but most of the men agreed to do what he asked. They may have loved their wives, but they loved their God more and were willing to obey him. The obedience of these men helped maintain the purity of Israel’s worship.
The Lord himself stirs people’s hearts to bring about revival and great movements of faith (1:1, 5).
God can restore what evil has taken away (1:7).
God’s people should give generously of their resources (2:68).
We can turn to the Lord when we fear those around us (3:3).
Praising God for his goodness is a fitting celebration for the things he helps us accomplish (3:11-12).
The Lord watches over us as we face opposition for his sake (5:5).
God can use leaders to do his will, even though they may not realize it (6:6-10).
Those who are well versed in Scripture should use their gifts to help others in worship (7:6-10).
God requires purity in worship; we cannot willingly continue in sin and please God (9:1-4).
True repentance calls us to the difficult task of righting past wrongs, but God rewards obedience (10:12-14).