So, Ezra was praying, confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the Lord considering the sin of foreign wives. A huge crowd of men, women and children gathered around him and joined in the weeping and praying. Shekaniah son of Jehiel steps forward and says how even with this sin over them, there is hope for Israel, they can still put it right before God. Shekaniah announces how they could make an oath before God to put out of Israel all their foreign wives and their children. This was a huge deal, they were going to take all their wives, who they loved, and their children, who they loved, and remove them from Israel as they were not true and full descendants of their nation.
Ezra raises up and along with the Elders and priests they come under this oath. He starts to put into motion the oath over all of Israel. He puts out a letter that says that all the men of Israel must come to Jerusalem within 3 days or they risk having their property ceased and being cut off from Israel. So, they came, and because of the magnitude of the situation, and the rain that was coming down, they were all crammed into the temple.
Ezra announced what was going to happen. It seems that a clear majority of the Israelites agreed with the oath, however Ezra names some men who were opposed to it. So, Ezra carries out the oath, he gathers the heads of the families and begins to look at each man in their family and check if their wives are of Israeli decent or not. This must have taken a long time, but Ezra and the exiles were so sure that they were not going to sin again against God that they worked their way through every family.
Ezra then lists all the men who had married foreign wives. There are quite a few.
When we are come into a relationship with God, He does amazing works in our lives. He forgives our sins and redeems us, He saves us and befriends us. But we are and always will be (until Jesus returns) a work in progress. There will always be things in our lives that God needs to remove and cleanse us from. However, He does not just remove them, although He could. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will highlight something in our lives, something that we need to bring before God for Him to deal with. This shows how our God wants a relationship with us, he wants us to choose him and not sin. So, as we prayed yesterday, if God reveals an offensive way in us, ask him to help you change.