Ezra 9:6-15

Ezra's Prayer


This prayer does not contain:

1.   Asking for forgiveness.

2.   The present desire of the blessings of God.

3.   Asking for future blessings of God.

4.   A solution to the problem.


This prayer contains:

1.   The most pitiful, earnest petition that a man could utter before God.

2.   It is honest, repentant, and looks at the problem from God's point of view.

3.   A devout affection for the past mercies of God.

4.   A complete confession of the sins of Israel.

5.   The complete justification of God in punishing Israel for past sins.

6.   The absolute justification of God if he completely destroyed Israel for committing the same sin again.


Verse 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.

I.    I am ashamed and blush.

A.  Why would Ezra be ashamed, he hadn't done anything.

1.   Many self-righteous people look at things like this.

2.   Ezra was involved, for he was also of the people of God like all Israel.

B.   Are we ever ashamed to bring our sins before God?

1.   It is true that we can come boldly before God's throne, Heb. 4:16.

2.   It should bother us when we continually come before His throne with the same sin, the same problems, and the same requests.

3.   We ought to stop sinning, and grow up to be full grown Christians, not remain babes in Christ.


II.   Increased over our head...grown up unto the heavens.

A.  Degrees of sin.

1.   All sin is sin, and all sin is bad.

2.   Some sin is worse than others.

3.   This is possible the worse sin Israel could commit.

B.   Heaven knows of this sin.

1.   God knows about all sin, but this sin is worse than any other.

2.   Genesis 18:20, 19:13 - The cry against the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah had come up before God.

C.   Why is this sin worse?

1.   Israel had sinned this sin before.

2.   Israel failed to listen to God, His prophets, or His Word, continuing in their sin.

3.   God had judged Israel, sending them into Babylon captivity for 70 years.

4.   Israel had learned during that captivity why God punished them.

5.   Now they have returned to their former sin.

6.   This shows they haven't learned anything at all from their past.

7.   Bible Examples:

a.   II Peter 2:22 - The dog has returned to his vomit and the sow that was washed has returned to the mire.

b.   Matt. 12:43-45 - When the unclean spirit is gone of out of a man, but he decides to return to his former ways, his later end is worse than the beginning.


Verse 7, Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.

I.    This is all the history Ezra has personally known.

A.  Ezra never remembers a time when Israel wasn't a rebellious nation.

1.   This trespass is called "great".

2.   God hasn't punished Israel for some trifle sin, but has given Israel space to repent, but they haven't repented.  Instead, they have heaped sin upon sin until God could no longer disregard it.

B.   This rebellion has caused much trouble.

1.   Ezra is not blaming God for their trouble.

2.   The cause for the trouble is Israel's sin.

3.   Notice the word "our iniquities".

C.   The people that sinned and endured the chastening of God.

1.   We - This refers to the common people.

2.   Our kings - This refers to the secular leaders of Israel.

3.   Our priests - This refers to the spiritual leaders of Israel.

D.  Notice all the things that have happened to Israel:

1.   Delivered into the hands of heathen kings.

2.   Delivered to the sword.

3.   Delivered to captivity.

4.   Delivered to spoil.

5.   Delivered to confusion.


II.   They are still in confusion, "as it is this day".

A.  They are still not following God's commands, but are still following the example set before them by the heathen.

B.   People will always be in confusion when they don't follow God.


Verse 8, And now for a little space grace hath been showed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.

I.    Little space - It hasn't been very long since God began to show grace toward us, in spite of our wickedness.

A.  What a great statement of the magnitude of God's love and grace toward sinners!

1.   Israel hasn't deserved any blessings of God.

2.   Just because they endured the 70 years bondage, doesn't really mean anything.

3.   They only got much less than they deserved during the captivity.

4.   By rights, God would have been justified to completely destroyed them all.

5.   Instead, God blessed them during the captivity by teaching them why they went into captivity, and what they ought to do to serve Him.

6.   He gave Cyrus the desire to set Israel free, and allowed them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, so they could begin a very small part of worship.

B.   Remnant to escape - There is no deserving of the remnant that they would escape, for they are as bad as all the rest.

1.   It is grace that allowed this to happen.

2.   Only grace could uplift a fallen sinner when they deserve to be stomped smaller than powder.


II.   Give us a nail.

A.  This is a very small place, a small beginning of building a house.

1.   If I would build a house, I would need much more than just one nail.

2.   I would need a multitude of material.

3.   God has given Israel just a very little bit of what He would give them if they would remain faithful to Him.

4.   But they haven't been faithful with the nail (the very beginning of the building).

5.   Why would anybody expect God to give them more?

6.   They must learn to be faithful in little before God will give them more.

7.   We must also learn the same thing.

B.   His holy place.

1.   Not our holy place, for this place doesn't belong to Israel, but to God.

2.   This is the right way to look at our possessions.

3.   God owns everything we have, but He has given us control of those things until we begin to use them for ourselves, forgetting Him.


III. Lighten our eyes.

A.  That we might be able to see just the very faintest glimpse of the great blessings that God has in store for those that love and adore Him and obey his precepts and commandments from the heart.

B.   Their eyes were dull.

1.   Being in bondage to Babylon did cause them to lose the vision of Israel as a world leader.

2.   If they hadn't sinned against God, they would not have gone into bondage.

3.   The same is true of us today.

4.   God has many blessings in store for us if we will only obey his precepts from the heart.

5.   There is no telling how many great and wondrous blessings we miss because our eyes are dull of seeing by faith.


IV. Little reviving in our bondage.

A.  Israel was in such a bad condition, they couldn't stand a great reviving.  They must be set free a little at a time.

B.   Israel is still in bondage.

1.   Not only are they in bondage to sin.

2.   They still don't have a government of their own, but are under the supervision of the Persian government.


Verse 9, For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.

I.    Ezra recounts the blessings of God.

A.  They were bondmen.

1.   They were already in bondage because of their disobedience.

2.   It was in that bondage that God blessed them.

3.   Jesus comes to seek and save the lost while they are lost, not when they come out of their lost condition.

B.   God didn't forsake us in our bondage.

1.   He would have been perfectly justified to do so.

2.   God's great grace and mercy was given to Israel.

3.   It is always good to notice the mercy and grace of God toward us.

C.   Extended (lengthened, prolonged, enlarged) mercy when Israel didn't deserve or seek it.

1.   The mercy God have Israel is not the "ordinary" mercy given to sinners.

2.   God went further than the ordinary with Israel, giving them much, much more than they deserved.

D.  Mercy unto the king of Persia.

1.   This is a very remarkable thing that God would move on the heart of a king for the benefit of his people.

2.   A people that had rebelled against Him at every turn, had failed to pray to him, and had failed to learn His ways.

E.   A reviving includes:

1.   To set up the house of God.

a.   This took place in the early chapters of the book of Ezra.

b.   Ezra wasn't there, because he probably wasn't born when that took place.

c.   But while he and his parents were in captivity in Babylon, they taught him what God had done, and was doing, for Israel.

2.   To repair the desolations thereof.

3.   To give them a wall in Jerusalem.

a.   This is not a complete wall around the city, but just one wall.

b.   This is probably speaking about the one wall of the temple that was also one wall around the city.


Verse 10, And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,

I.    What can be said for Israel.

A.  Nothing can be said for Israel.

B.   Everything can be said against Israel.


II.   What can be asked for in the face of all the good things God has done for Israel?

A.  All that can be done is a facing of the facts.

B.   God has greatly blessed and Israel has forsaken his commandments.


Verse 11, Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.

I.    Ezra mentions the warning God gave Israel concerning the condition of the land they were going into.

A.  He tells them it is a land filled with sin and they must be careful lest they partake of their sins.

1.   It is not that this sin crept up behind Israel and took them unawares.

2.   Israel knew what they were getting into, and knew what to avoid if they were to obey God's commands.

3.   Ezra is saying that Israel willingly and knowingly sinned against God.

4.   They do not deserve any more mercy or grace from God, only the judgment of God.


II.   Ezra makes mention of the specific command Israel forsook.

A.  God knows this command, Israel knows this command and Ezra knows this command.

B.   If this is so, why does Ezra mention it?

1.   Because this is a public prayer and he doesn't want to leave any doubt in the minds of those standing by concerning which sin Israel is guilty of.

2.   Also whenever we pray to God, it certainly doesn't hurt to mention to God those things He already knows.

3.   If we restrict our prayers to those things God doesn't know, we won't be praying, for God knows everything.


Verse 12, Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.

I.    There are some things God commands us to do as concerning the heathen.

A.  Do not intermarry with them.

1.   This is a quote from Deut. 7:3,4.

2.   This will cause us and our children to stop serving God and began to side with the heathen.

3.   The final turning away from the truth will be because we will accept our relatives and reject God.

B.   Don't seek their peace.

1.   This means we shouldn't pray that God will bless them.

2.   I John 1:10 - If there is anybody that doesn't keep sound doctrine, we shouldn't invite them into our house, nor bid them God's speed.

3.   We should not pray that God will destroy them, unless we have a specific scripture to pray that way.

4.   Judgment will come to them because of their own wickedness.

C.   Don't seek their wealth.

1.   Their wealth has probably been ill gotten.

2.   Even if they have earned it by "honest sweat", if they haven't given God the glory for honest work, that money is a displeasure to God.


II.   How should we treat the heathen?

A.  We should treat them like they are heathen, not our long lost brother or sister.

1.   We should leave them alone.

2.   If God gives us opportunity, we should speak the truth to them.

3.   It just may be that God will use us to cause them to see their sinfulness before God, and trust Him.

4.   They will never see their sinfulness if we condone what they do.

5.   If we are no different from them, they will never see any need to change how they live.

B.   God will bless us without the heathen.

1.   We have the promise from God that He will make us strong, if we leave the heathen alone.

a.   This strength will be a spiritual strength.

b.   This spiritual strength will give us physical strength to defeat the wicked.

2.   We will eat the good of the land.

a.   God will not give the refuse of the land to his children.

b.   God always blesses His children with the very best there is.

c.   The heathen will eat the bad stuff.

3.   We will leave the land to our children.

a.   God has promised us that we will not only possess the land, but that we will own the land.

b.   We will be able to pass this land down to our children.

c.   Our children will be able to pass the land on down to their children, if they are faithful to God.

d.   God has promised the Jews they will have an eternal inheritance in the promised land, if they will only obey Him.


Verse 13, And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;

I.    Ezra recognizes the past punishment upon Israel.

A.  Israel received less punishment than they deserved.

1.   God would have been justified to forsake them forever.

2.   If God had chosen another nation to represent Him, Israel would have nothing to fuss about.

B.   A part of the mercy of God is less severe punishment than that which is deserved.

1.   Ezra is thanking God for not being so hard on them.

2.   A person will always be thankful to God when they realize what a terrible sinner they are.

3.   If they never recognize what a sinner they are, they won't be thankful.

C.   A part of the mercy of God is deliverance.

1.   Israel didn't deserve deliverance any more than they deserved less punishment.

2.   God is indeed good to us!

3.   If we got what we deserved, we would receive eternal damnation in everlasting fire, away from any of the comforts of God.


Verse 14, Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?

I.    It is repeated that Israel has broken the commandments of God.


II.   God will be justified if he completely destroys Israel.

A.  This time there will be no remnant left.

B.   There will be no escaping for anybody.

1.   Even the innocent will also die.

2.   This prayer is a total emptying of self before God.


Verse 15, O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.

I.    God has declared his righteousness before Israel in that He hasn't wiped them off the face of the earth.

A.  They are still in the promised land even though they have committed these terrible transgressions before the Lord.

B.   It really doesn't matter what God decides to do to Israel.

1.   He will be righteous in all His acts toward them.

2.   They have no merit on which to stand, only sinfulness.

3.   A lost person must come to this place before they can be saved.


II.   We are before thee in our trespasses.

A.  "Trespasses" is plural, not singular.

B.   There is no way to hide their sins from God.

C.   They are doubly guilty because they have repeated a past sin.


II.   It is impossible to stand before such a righteous judge as God Almighty.

A.  There is coming a day in which every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ to the glory of God the Father.

B.   This will happen because every person will understand that God has dealt with them in their sinfulness, doing many things to bring them to repentance, but they would not listen, nor heed His pleadings.