December 14, Reading 1 – Ezra 10


Audio, Visual

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

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

God’s word tell us what people do, not just what they _should_ do.

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 we read of Israel the faithless bride, who went after other gods, committing adultery with God as her husband.

While God sent His bride into exile for a time, He did not put them 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, otherwise what hope would we have!

Instead, He purposed to send 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 enact in our lives what You have for us.

Please show us Jesus today.


December 13, Reading 1 – Ezra 9


Audio, Visual

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

“… 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 patterning for us.

David prayers such as this in Psalm 51, and in Psalm 85 we read the crying out and calling on the Lord’s faithfulness.

We read Paul’s words about this sort of situation that Ezra found himself managing,

“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. But important.

What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness!

May the Lord tune our minds and hearts to His wisdom as we read and dwell on this passage.

* Dear Lord,

Please tune our hearts and minds to Your wisdom as we read this passage today.

Please remind us of what we read, help us to dwell on it – Please teach us today what You want for us Lord God.


December 12, Reading 1 – Ezra 8


Audio, Visual

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

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

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

We see here in this reading Ezra displaying wisdom and foresight, and most especially faithfulness. He 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. 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 to us His people – generation through 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 the just punishment for our sins – Because of Your grace and Your mercy we can be free!

Thank You for sending Your Spirit to dwell within us, Your people – Because of Your building us as living stones we can know You!

Little by little, day by day – Write Your word upon our hearts please dear Lord, that we might grow toward You and know You better.