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Ezra 9:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Fell upon my knees - In token of the deepest humility. Spread out my hands, as if to lay hold on the mercy of God. We have already had occasion to explain these significant acts.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The sacrifice, especially the evening sacrifice, was a type of the blessed Lamb of God, who in the evening of the world, was to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Ezra's address is a penitent confession of sin, the sin of his people. But let this be the comfort of true penitents, that though their sins reach to the heavens, God's mercy is in the heavens. Ezra, speaking of sin, speaks as one much ashamed. Holy shame is as necessary in true repentance as holy sorrow. Ezra speaks as much amazed. The discoveries of guilt cause amazement; the more we think of sin, the worse it looks. Say, God be merciful to me sinner. Ezra speaks as one much afraid. There is not a surer or saddler presage of ruin, than turning to sin, after great judgments, and great deliverances. Every one in the church of God, has to wonder that he has not wearied out the Lord's patience, and brought destruction upon himself. What then must be the case of the ungodly? But though the true penitent has nothing to plead in his own behalf, the heavenly Advocate pleads most powerfully for him.
Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 178

May God teach His people how to pray. Let the teachers in our schools and the ministers in our churches, learn daily in the school of Christ. Then they will pray with earnestness, and their requests will be heard and answered. Then the word will be proclaimed with power. GW 178.1

Both in public and in private worship, it is our privilege to bow on our knees before the Lord when we offer our petitions to Him. Jesus, our example, “kneeled down, and prayed.” [Luke 22:41.] Of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, “kneeled down, and prayed.” [Acts 9:40; 20:36; 21:5.] Paul declared, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Ephesians 3:14.] In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. [See Ezra 9:5.] Daniel “kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God.” [Daniel 6:10.] GW 178.2

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 48

“The Lord is a great God,
And a great King above all gods....
O come, let us worship and bow down:
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”
PK 48.1

Psalm 95:3-6. PK 48

Both in public and in private worship it is our privilege to bow on our knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him. Jesus, our example, “kneeled down, and prayed.” Luke 22:41. Of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, “kneeled down, and prayed.” Acts 9:40. Paul declared, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 3:14. In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. See Ezra 9:5. Daniel “kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God.” Daniel 6:10. PK 48.2

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 353

In the offering of incense the priest was brought more directly into the presence of God than in any other act of the daily ministration. As the inner veil of the sanctuary did not extend to the top of the building, the glory of God, which was manifested above the mercy seat, was partially visible from the first apartment. When the priest offered incense before the Lord, he looked toward the ark; and as the cloud of incense arose, the divine glory descended upon the mercy seat and filled the most holy place, and often so filled both apartments that the priest was obliged to retire to the door of the tabernacle. As in that typical service the priest looked by faith to the mercy seat which he could not see, so the people of God are now to direct their prayers to Christ, their great High Priest, who, unseen by human vision, is pleading in their behalf in the sanctuary above. PP 353.1

The incense, ascending with the prayers of Israel, represents the merits and intercession of Christ, His perfect righteousness, which through faith is imputed to His people, and which can alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God. Before the veil of the most holy place was an altar of perpetual intercession, before the holy, an altar of continual atonement. By blood and by incense God was to be approached—symbols pointing to the great Mediator, through whom sinners may approach Jehovah, and through whom alone mercy and salvation can be granted to the repentant, believing soul. PP 353.2

As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place at the time of incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered upon the altar in the court without. This was a time of intense interest to the worshipers who assembled at the tabernacle. Before entering into the presence of God through the ministration of the priest, they were to engage in earnest searching of heart and confession of sin. They united in silent prayer, with their faces toward the holy place. Thus their petitions ascended with the cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits of the promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice. The hours appointed for the morning and the evening sacrifice were regarded as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set time for worship throughout the Jewish nation. And when in later times the Jews were scattered as captives in distant lands, they still at the appointed hour turned their faces toward Jerusalem and offered up their petitions to the God of Israel. In this custom Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer. While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without the spirit of worship, He looks with great pleasure upon those who love Him, bowing morning and evening to seek pardon for sins committed and to present their requests for needed blessings. PP 353.3

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 619-21

It was in the providence of God that those who returned with Ezra had had special seasons of seeking the Lord. The experiences through which they had just passed, on their journey from Babylon, unprotected as they had been by any human power, had taught them rich spiritual lessons. Many had grown strong in faith; and as these mingled with the discouraged and the indifferent in Jerusalem, their influence was a powerful factor in the reform soon afterward instituted. PK 619.1

On the fourth day after the arrival, the treasures of silver and gold, with the vessels for the service of the sanctuary, were delivered by the treasurers into the hands of the temple officers, in the presence of witnesses, and with the utmost exactitude. Every article was examined “by number and by weight.” Ezra 8:34. PK 619.2

The children of the captivity who had returned with Ezra “offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel” for a sin offering and as a token of their gratitude and thanksgiving for the protection of holy angels during the journey. “And they delivered the king's commissions unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God.” Verses 35, 36. PK 619.3

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