Lessons I learnt
- Complacent hearts cannot make magnificent changes-The greatest human achievements are applauded, when there has been a dramatic change in the life or lives of people, by the decision of one man. We've heard many rags to riches story, where the person was not content with their present condition knowing fully, they could become what they wanted. Ezra knew the Israelites could do better than that, and disobedience to the Living God was invitation to the enemy and he made the change.If our hearts are complacent that our neighbours or children, or family members do not know the Living God, we will never strive to make a change in their lives and vice versa.
- Times of change are painful-It must not have been an easy decision for the Israelites to give up their families with the foreign people(Ezra 10:3). They could have possibly been in love with them, even though the foreigners were taking them away from their God. However, if the sin has been great, the correction also is great. I think, whatever distance we've moved away from God is the same needed to walk back to God. When we are willing to make a change in our lives or someone else's life or the society, its not going to be easy. It will bear a cost.
- Slavery-Though the Israelites were enjoying free time, because of the generosity of the pagan kings whose hearts God had moved(Ezra 1:1,Ezra 6:14), they were still a slave. That land where they stood, in Jerusalem was theirs, but they were slaves under the Assyrians(Iranians). They were working the land to store up for the Assyrian king. In their disobedience the Israelites had lost their land to someone else, the land flowing with milk and honey which their Lord God had given them. Just because our slave masters haven't dealt with us severely it doesn't mean we are free from bondage, no matter how pleasant it may seem, we are still slaves to whatever controls us and uses our best efforts for their pleasure and not for our benefit. Only complete obedience to God can free us from our slavery to whatever it may be. God knows, even if we think we're not slaves to any. If anything other than our Living God is directing our lives then we are slaves. The Israelites realised it later and it is mentioned in Nehemiah 9:36-37
Conclusion:It is hard to notice when you're free and when you're not. I am amazed at this beautiful lesson I learnt regarding slavery. Anything other than the Living Lord , if it directs our lives then we are slaves, no matter how kindly, it may seem, they might be leading us. Jesus Christ our Lord, set us free from the power of sin and death, so that we are no longer to slaves of any other power. The Bible says in Galatians 4:7 "So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir." Isn't this what God was trying to bring out before the Israelites. That Jerusalem was their gift from God and even though they were in Jerusalem, they were slaves under an Assyrian king, not realising they were heirs to the throne of Jerusalem. What has enslaved us and we know not about? What is it that is taking away our authority as heirs to the Kingdom of our Living Father in heaven, lets make our lives right, that we may be slave to no one, except to our Father in Heaven, Who doesn't call us slaves, but joint-heirs.