… behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
Key Verse Thought: Read the Key Verse for this lesson. Have you ever sinned? Did you get in trouble? Do you think you have ever gotten away with something? It is important to understand that though one may not have gotten in trouble at that time, keep in mind that God sees and knows all. Be careful when you sin against God – for your sin will find you out!
Emphasis: Christians are to prepare our hearts to serve God – no matter what task God may have for us to do. Remember: when the people of Israel sinned against God, their sin was made known. It was difficult to make it right.
Lesson Summary: In our last lesson, we learned about Esther and the salvation of the Jews from certain death. If you think about it, without godly people like Daniel, Mordecai, and Esther about whom we have learned, the recognition of God by the people, and especially the kings, may not have been. Even in our more recent history, there are people who have made sure that future generations know of God and learn to trust in Him.
This week we will learn of Ezra. He led the second remnant back to Jerusalem from the land of Babylon. Before he left, he prepared his heart. He determined to go back to Israel to make sure God’s people not only had the written Word of God (for he was a scribe), but he wanted to be sure the people knew the Word of the Lord and lived it. He had no idea the challenge that lay ahead of him!
King Artaxerxes (King Ahasuerus’ son, and possibly Esther’s son as well), issued a decree that any and all who wanted to return to Israel could go. Not only that, but he sent much silver, gold, and vessels for the house of the Lord. Ezra recognized the hand of God and the blessing of the king.
Ezra made sure they had priests and Levites to return with them. Many of these he placed in charge of the great riches they were carrying into Jerusalem.
As soon as they arrived in Jerusalem, they found out that many of the men had married wives of the heathen nations around. Some even had children by them. Ezra was astonished and devastated at the condition of the people. He rent his garment and prayed. Ezra was ashamed of the great sin in which the people were living. As the people gathered, they acknowledged their great sin and were willing to do something about it. Ezra challenged the people to correct their ways.
The men who had married foreign women had to send them away – and the children born by them.
If you are teaching this to children, the following are a couple of ideas for a craft to reinforce this lesson.
One time we sewed a heart together with the top open, put stickers on the outside, and hid verses inside of it. Another time we made a heart frame with stickers and put the verse Ezra 7:10 in the center to help us remember how important Ezra understood that God’s Word is.