Quiero llevarte de vuelta a diciembre del año 458 B.C. Sería un momento crucial para el pueblo de Dios en Jerusalén. Esdras, un escriba judío que trabajaba para el rey pagano Artajerjes en Babilonia, había llegado a Jerusalén en agosto del mismo año, 458 B.C. Había sido enviado por el rey y se le dio una asignación muy específica. Podemos leer los detalles de la tarea dada a Esdras por el rey Artajerjes en Esdras 7:25.

25 Y tú, Esdras, de acuerdo con la sabiduría de tu Dios, que posees, designar magistrados y jueces para administrar justicia a todo el pueblo de Trans-Euphrates– todos los que conocen las leyes de tu Dios. Y usted es para enseñar a cualquiera que no los conoce. (Esdras 7:25 NIVO)

A Esdras se le dio la responsabilidad de nombrar magistrados y jueces que llevarían a cabo la justicia de acuerdo con la ley de Dios. Esdras también debía enseñar la Palabra de Dios a todas las personas que no conocían la Palabra de Dios.

Como he dicho antes, Ezra viajó algunos 900 millas de Babilonia y llegó a Jerusalén en agosto de 458 B.C. No hay duda de que fue directo al trabajo. Ezra was interviewing potential magistrates and judges trying to find out if they were well versed in God’s Word before he installed them in any official capacity. At the same time he was busy teaching God’s Word to the people day after day after day. There’s no doubt he taught at the temple, que, if you will remember had finally been completed 57 año anterior. The temple isn’t the only place Ezra taught God’s Word. He was a traveling teacher. King Artaxerxes had given him the job of teaching God’s Word throughout the whole Trans-Euphrates region.

Esdras había estado en ello durante cuatro meses cuando algunos de los líderes del pueblo en Jerusalén vinieron a visitar a Esdras. Si te vuelves conmigo a Ezra 9:1-2. Leamos juntos.

1 Después de que estas cosas se habían hecho, los líderes vinieron a mí y me dijeron, «El pueblo de Israel, incluyendo a los sacerdotes y los levitas, no se han mantenido separados de los pueblos vecinos con sus prácticas detestables, como los de los cananeos, Hititas, Ferezeos, Jebuseos, Amonitas, Moabitas, Egipcios y amorreos. 2 Han tomado a algunas de sus hijas como esposas para sí mismos y sus hijos, y se han mezclado la raza santa con los pueblos a su alrededor. Y los líderes y funcionarios han liderado el camino en esta infidelidad.» (Esdras 9:1-2 NIVO)

Lo que está pasando en Jerusalén con el pueblo de Dios? Los líderes informaron a Esdras que el pueblo de Dios, incluyendo a los líderes, sacerdotes y levitas, se había casado con extranjeros. La última frase de Esdras 9:2 dice, "Y los líderes y funcionarios han liderado el camino en esta infidelidad." Ahora, antes de echar un vistazo más profundo a lo que había estado pasando en Jerusalén permítanme decir lo obvio de nuestro siglo XXI, Iluminado, la mentalidad despertó–Esto no es más que racismo plano, ¿no es así?? Como he estado estudiando esta Escritura durante las últimas dos semanas me he metido en esa toma de Ezra 9 varias veces. Por el bien del tiempo permítanme decirles que lo que tenemos aquí no es racismo por parte de Ezra, or on God’s part for that matter. Let me show you the evidence for why I say this has absolutely nothing to do with racism.

Moses was married to a woman named Zipporah, not a Hebrew, but a Cushite. Hoy, if you were to locate Ethiopia on a map then you would be familiar with the general area of the Cushites. En Números 12 we learn that Moses’ sister Miriam and his brother Aaron began to talk bad about Moses because of his Cushite wife. God defended Moses and Zipporah and He judged Miriam and Aaron.

En Génesis 41, José, just after he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, was given an Egyptian wife named Asenath, by Pharaoh. Asenath is the daughter of an Egyptian pagan priest. Más tarde, God blessed Joseph and Asenath with two boys, Efraín y Manasés, half Hebrew and half Egyptian. Still much later, Padre de José, Jacob, when he was near the end of his life was paid a visit by Joseph and his two sons. Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, adopted Joseph’s sons, Efraín y Manasés, those half Egyptian boys as his own boys and they became the ancestors of two of the twelve tribes of Israel.

One more story if you don’t mind. Remember Ruth and Naomi? Naomi and her family were from Bethlehem, but because of the famine they moved to Moab. While in Moab, Naomi and Elimelech’s boys married two girls from Moab. Larga historia corta, Elimelech died, several years later both of Naomi’s sons died, and she was left with her two Moabite daughter-in-laws. Naomi told them to go back to their families, but Ruth said, "No hay manera! I’m going with you.” Listen to what Ruth told Naomi.

16 Pero Rut respondió:, «Don ’ t urge me dejo o dar marcha atrás de usted. Donde vayas voy a ir, y si te quedas. Tu pueblo será mi pueblo y tu Dios mi Dios. 17 Donde usted muere moriré, y allí será enterrado. Puede tratar el Señor conmigo, ser peor de los castigos, Si otra cosa que la muerte separa tú y yo.» (Rut 1:16-17 NIVO)

Rut, la moabita, became the great grandmother of King David, el rey más grande en la historia de Israel. Ruth the Moabite is also in Jesus’ family tree. The purity of the people of God is about the purity of faith, not race. What had happened in Jerusalem that was so distressing to Ezra was that God’s people had fallen back into the very sins that had gotten them carried into exile in the first place.

Let me take you back, way back, to a time when Moses was preparing the former slaves who had come out of Egypt for what they should do and expect when they moved into the Promised Land. Moses told them there would be people in the land, some of the names listed in Ezra are the very people Moses warned them about. Entonces, en Deuteronomio 7, leemos,

3 No casarse con ellos. No dar a sus hijas a sus hijos o tomar a sus hijas para tus hijos, 4 for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, y la ira del Señor arderá contra ustedes y rápidamente le destruirá. 5 This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. 6 Porque tú eres pueblo santo a Jehová tu Dios. El Señor tu Dios te ha escogido de entre todos los pueblos sobre la faz de la tierra a su pueblo, su tesoro. (Deuteronomio 7:3-6 NIVO)

God told His people through Moses what would happen. Did it happen? Over and over again it happened. God’s people married people who had no regard for God, worse yet, they were pagans who worshiped false gods and it led to the demise of Israel. The most memorable example is Solomon, supposedly the wisest man who ever lived and yet we read,

1 El rey Salomón, sin embargo, amó a muchas mujeres extranjeras además de la hija del Faraón– Moabitas, Amonitas, Edomitas, Sidonios y los hititas. 2 Eran de las naciones sobre las que el Señor había dicho a los hijos de Israel, «Usted no debe casarse con ellos, porque seguramente se volverán vuestros corazones tras sus dioses.» Sin embargo, Salomón se aferró a ellos en el amor. 3 Y tuvo setecientas mujeres reinas y trescientas concubinas, y sus esposas lo llevaron por mal camino. 4 Como Salomón envejeció, sus mujeres inclinaron su corazón tras dioses ajenos, y su corazón no se dedicó plenamente a Jehová su Dios, como el corazón de David su padre había sido. 5 Él siguió a Astoret, diosa de los sidonios, y Moloc, ídolo abominable de los amonitas. 6 Así que Salomón hizo lo malo ante los ojos de Jehová; no siguió el SEÑOR completamente, como David su padre había hecho. (1 Reyes 11:1-6 NIVO)

Over and over again God’s people refused to pay attention to God’s warning about what would happen if they gave their hearts to those who worshiped other gods and it never turned out for the better. It always turned into a disaster.

What is really tragic is that those who had been taken from their homeland in Jerusalem to the far away land of Babylon knew what they had done, they knew why their nation had crumbled. Después de casi 70 years in exile, those first Jews who made the journey back to Jerusalem were so intent, so focused on doing things right this time, not making the same mistakes their parents and grandparents had made in the past. The first thing they did when they arrived was to set the base of the altar in place. They were going to focus their lives on serving God, worshiping God, and walking with God as they reestablished themselves in Jerusalem.

Ahora, by the time Ezra arrived in Jerusalem, it had been 80 years since the exiles had returned to Jerusalem. The focus and passion they once felt for walking with God, learning His Word, and living out their faith in obedience to God somehow, somewhere along the way faded into the background. The fires of passion for the Lord died out as their passion for others were stirred up.

There’s no doubt it had been going on for some time. Así, what was it that caused some people to feel convicted about what they had done? What was it that disturbed them so badly that they sought out Ezra to confess their sins? The answer to that question is very easy. Do you remember who arrived in Jerusalem four months prior to the confession? Ezra right. Do you remember the task Ezra was given by King Artaxerxes? To teach the Word of God right. There’s your answer. When we are exposed to God’s Word it will either harden us if we are determined to do life our own way or it will quicken us, soften our hearts, and convict us where we are out of God’s will. Remember Hebrews 4:12?

12 Porque la Palabra de Dios es viva y eficaz. Y más cortante que toda espada de doble filo, y penetra hasta partir el alma y el espíritu, las coyunturas y los tuétanos; y discierne los pensamientos y las intenciones del corazón. (Hebreos 4:12 NIVO)

What we read in Ezra 9 contains some incredibly valuable lessons for those of us who are living in Oklahoma City in 2020. Is it ok to marry anyone we want? Bien, Eso depende. If you have given your heart to Jesus and are determined to live your life for His glory then the answer to that question is, “No, you shouldn’t marry just anyone.” Before you go off on me as being narrow-minded, old fashioned, and out-of-touch-with-the-times just stop and think about it for a moment. If your greatest desire in life is to know the Lord, to walk with Him daily, to allow Him to use you to impact the lives of others, and to one day have a family where you can serve the Lord with your spouse and pour into your kidsthen does it not make sense that you should marry someone who has those same aspirations for their life?

Truth is most Christians today decide who they will marry based on looks, sense of humor, financial security, or the fun-to-be-with factor and not the person’s commitment to the Lord. Como resultado, I’ve seen men and women drawn away from the Lord by someone they care deeply for, but who has no desire to walk with God. There are folks here this morning who are married to an unbeliever and I want to encourage you to keep loving your spouse, pray for the Lord to touch the heart of your spouse, and live your life as a witness of God’s love and grace before your spouse.

If you are here this morning and you are not married, but you hope to be some day then I want to urge you to pray for the Lord to send you a man or woman after God’s own heart. Put that request at the top of your list and pray for the Lord to send him or her your way some day. It is so important that you refuse to compromise your love for the Lord for the sake of someone you are attracted to in life.

Ahora, if you just go to church to go to church, to see friends, or to try and soothe your conscience, but you’re not serious about your walk with the Lord and you really have no desire to live your life for His glory or according to His will, then by all means marry who you want. Let’s get back to Ezra.

En Esdras 9, when the people came to Ezra to confess what had been going on, we can learn how Ezra responded by reading Ezra 9:3-15. Leamos juntos.

3 When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. 4 Entonces todos los que temblaban ante las palabras del Dios de Israel se reunieron a mi alrededor a causa de esta infidelidad de los exiliados. Y me senté allí horrorizado hasta el sacrificio de la noche. 5 Entonces, por la noche sacrificio, Me levanté de mi auto-abandono, con mi túnica y capa desgarrada, y cayó de rodillas con las manos extendidas al Señor mi Dios 6 y oró: «Oh Dios mío, Estoy demasiado avergonzado y des honrado para levantar mi cara a ti, Dios mío, porque nuestros pecados son más altos que nuestras cabezas y nuestra culpa ha llegado a los cielos. 7 Desde los días de nuestros antepasados hasta ahora, nuestra culpa ha sido grande. Debido a nuestros pecados, nosotros y nuestros reyes y nuestros sacerdotes han sido sometidos a la espada y el cautiverio, para saquear y humillar a la mano de reyes extranjeros, como es hoy. 8 «Pero ahora, por un breve momento, el Señor nuestro Dios ha sido amable al dejarnos un remanente y darnos un lugar firme en su santuario, y así nuestro Dios da luz a nuestros ojos y un poco de alivio en nuestra esclavitud. 9 Aunque somos esclavos, nuestro Dios no nos ha abandonado en nuestra esclavitud. Nos ha mostrado bondad a la vista de los reyes de Persia: Nos ha concedido una nueva vida para reconstruir la casa de nuestro Dios y reparar sus ruinas, y nos ha dado un muro de protección en Judá y Jerusalén. 10 «Pero ahora, Dios nuestro, ¿qué podemos decir después de esto? Porque hemos hecho caso omiso de los comandos 11 usted dio a través de sus siervos los profetas cuando usted dijo: ‘La tierra que está entrando a poseer es una tierra contaminada por la corrupción de sus pueblos. Por sus prácticas detestables que han llenado con su impureza de un extremo al otro. 12 Por lo tanto, no le des a tus hijas en matrimonio con sus hijos ni tomen a sus hijas por sus hijos. No busques un tratado de amistad con ellos en ningún momento, para que sean fuertes y coman las cosas buenas de la tierra y se la dejen a sus hijos como una herencia eterna.’ 13 «Lo que nos ha sucedido es el resultado de nuestras malas malas idades y nuestra gran culpa, y sin embargo, nuestro Dios, nos han castigado menos de lo que nuestros pecados se han merecido y nos han dado un remanente como este. 14 Shall we again break your commands and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor? 15 Oh Jehová, Dios de Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.» (Esdras 9:3-15 NIVO)

Ezra heard the news and tore his cloak and tunic, he pulled his hair out of his head and his beard, and he sat down. Tearing one’s clothes and pulling hair out was customary for those who were grieving in Ezra’s day, in all of biblical times really. When Ezra says he was “appalled” in verses 3 y 4, he uses a really interesting Hebrew word. La palabra hebrea, "??????" (shamem) significa, “to be desolate, stunned, stupefied, horrified, etc.” Ezra can’t believe what he has just heard. Entonces, leemos en el versículo 4,

4 Entonces todos los que temblaban ante las palabras del Dios de Israel se reunieron a mi alrededor a causa de esta infidelidad de los exiliados. Y me senté allí horrorizado hasta el sacrificio de la noche. (Esdras 9:4 NIVO)

Those “who trembled at the words of the God of Israel” gathered around Ezra. They stayed. Ellos esperaron. Oraron. Ellos esperaron. Then Ezra prayed. Ezra’s prayer is one of the most powerful prayers you will ever hear or read. I want to point out a couple of things Ezra mentioned in his prayer that I’ve been thinking about this past week. Primero, Ezra was not one of the leaders who had married someone of another faith, but he identified himself with those who did.

6 «Oh Dios mío, Estoy demasiado avergonzado y des honrado para levantar mi cara a ti, Dios mío, porque nuestros pecados son más altos que nuestras cabezas y nuestra culpa ha llegado a los cielos. 7 Desde los días de nuestros antepasados hasta ahora, nuestra culpa ha sido grande. Debido a nuestros pecados, nosotros y nuestros reyes y nuestros sacerdotes han sido sometidos a la espada y el cautiverio, para saquear y humillar a la mano de reyes extranjeros, como es hoy. (Esdras 9:6-7 NIVO)

For those of us who are followers of Jesus please hear me. There is much wrong with the people of our nation, there is much wrong with our leaders, but we need to adopt the mentality of Ezra and use “we” instead of “them.” We are really good at pointing fingers at others. Ezra prayed and acknowledged before God, “our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.” Isn’t that true for us living here in Oklahoma City as well? It’s not “them,” it is “us” who have sinned, it is “us” who are broken, it is “us” who are in need of God’s forgiving grace and merciful restoration.

The second thing that stood out for me about what Ezra prayed before the Lord is the fact that he made no excuses. We are so accustomed to making excuses aren’t we? We wouldn’t have done what we did if they hadn’t done what they did. It really wasn’t my fault. Ezra prays,

15 Oh Jehová, Dios de Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.» (Esdras 9:3-15 NIVO)

God you are righteous and we are guilty. This is still true today. God is righteous. God is rightly-related to His creation. God has never broken a promise, never told a lie, never mistreated His people. Nosotros, por otra parte, are guilty. The Bible says “all have sinned,” but most of us don’t believe that we are sinners. Even for some of those who will admit they are sinners they are quick to qualify it with, “but I’m not as bad as…” My friend, let me let you in on a little secret. You and I are hopelessly lost. We are experts in messing things up, breaking things, and alienating those we love if left to our own devices. It is only when we have our eyes opened to this reality by the Holy Spirit of God using the Word of God that we can then recognize our greatest need in life. Our greatest need is not for more money, a better house or car, or a more understanding husband, su esposa, or kidsour greatest need in life is a life-giving, life-transforming relationship with Jesus. Do you know Him this morning? I know you are in church, but I need to know if you know Jesus, if you love Jesus, if you are walking with Jesus and allowing Him to lead you and guide in the decisions you make throughout the day. Sino, then I want to invite you to cry out to Him this morning and ask Jesus to come into your heart, into your life.

Mike Hays

Britton Christian Church

922 NW 91a

OKC, OK. 73114

Enero 19, 2020

Conviction and Confession
Esdras 9
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