December 14, Reading 1 – Ezra 10


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SAA Notes

The Bible tells us what people did do, as well as what they should do. Ezra and the majority of people went further than the Mosaic Law. The Apostle Paul tells believers not to divorce their unbelieving spouses because they are not believers. 1 Corinthians 7:14

SJA Notes

* Righteous God, let us not hate Your discipline or despise Your reproof.

“All these had married foreign women, and some of the women had even borne children.”

God’s word doesn’t just tell us how we ought to act, it shows us how we actually are, warts and all.

We have read in God’s word that non-Israelite wives do not stop God’s grace – After all we have Tamar, Rahab and Ruth, all grafted into the true vine.

They gave up their idolatry and served the living God.

In Ezekiel 16 and 23 we read of Israel the faithless bride, who went after other gods, committing adultery with God her husband.

While God sent His bride into exile for a time, He did not put her away forever. Instead we read in Ezekiel,

“For thus says the Lord GOD: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant.”

Through Jesus we are grafted into the true vine, one that is blessing to all nations (the promise to Abraham).

God did not put away His faithless bride. If this were so what hope would we have!

Instead, He sent Himself as the once-for-all sacrifice for all the sins of His people.

Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

* Great God Above,

This is a hard reading today.

Please open our ears to hear Your word, our eyes to see what You want for us, the courage and energy to do what You tell us.

Please show us Jesus today.


December 13, Reading 1 – Ezra 9


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SAA Notes

The danger of idolatry was very strong. An unequal yoke makes life very difficult and laborious for a believer. It is the parents who are arranging such marriages for reasons of wealth and commerce. This was an age where young people minded what their parents thought and wanted.

SJA Notes

* God Above, please help us to ponder the path of our feet, that all our ways would be sure. Help us not to swerve to the right or to the left, help us to turn out feet away from evil.

“… I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.”

Here is a clear example of penitent prayer. Ezra patterns this for us.

David prays similarly in Psalm 51, and in Psalm 85 we read his crying out and calling on the Lord’s faithfulness.

Paul has a word regarding the sort of situation that Ezra managed with the people at that time,

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

Sometimes we need a shock like this, and a response such as Ezra’s,

“As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled.”

This is a hard word, and important word.

What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?

* Dear Lord,

Please turn our hearts and minds to Your wisdom today.

Please remind us of what we read, teach us today from Your word.


December 12, Reading 1 – Ezra 8


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SAA Notes

One of God’s blessings to a church is people of integrity who can handle the temporal affairs of the church well. Let us thank God for His blessings.

SJA Notes

* Holy God, please help us today to avoid entering the path of the wicked, to walk away from the way of evil, turn from it and pass on.

“The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy …”

As we work to show God’s faithfulness in our own words and thoughts and deeds, so He continues to be faithful.

We see here in this reading that Ezra displays wisdom, foresight and most especially faithfulness.

Ezra commits their travel and journey to the Lord with humility. He pleads to the Lord for safety. He entrusts the wealth that Artaxerxes had given them into the hands of the priests.

Look at the outworking in this passage of what it means to trust in the Lord. We can read and think about Ezra’s behaviour and how he interacts with our God and with those who were around him.

Praise God for His faithfulness without end to us His people – generation after generation!

* Holy God,

Thank You for saving us Lord – Because of Your great faithfulness and steadfast love we can have life!

Thank You for taking away from us the just punishment for our sins – Because of Your grace and mercy we can be free!

Thank You for sending Your Spirit to dwell within us, Your people – Because of Your building us into a spiritual house we can know You better each day!

Little by little, day by day.

Thank You Lord.