Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it."
So what does this verse mean? Maybe it's talking about Jesus coming to earth, and saying that God will be with Him. Maybe it's God talking to a prophet. Maybe we should read the beginning of the chapter to understand what's going on.
Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly. And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, "We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this. Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who trembled at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We are also with you. Be of good courage, and do it."
So it was actually about people trying to get right with God, and trying to get Ezra to help them. NOT about Jesus, NOT about God talking to a prophet.
So here's our lesson: When someone pulls out a verse for you to argue about, read the context. Understand what's actually going on before you say what it's about. Verse 4 almost became the encouragement night last week all by itself, and then Something reminded me to read the context.
Another lesson: God didn't have to use plagues or war to get Israel's attention this time. Someone that was righteous had to admit the guilt of the people (back then, everything was grouped like that). There were people who did change their mind and go back, because look around today: there are Christians married to non-Christians. There are Jews married to non-Jews. Why? Because we think that we know best.
I said before that God deals with sinners by saying 'That's not nice, don't do it again," a lot of people won't listen. In this passage, Ezra talks to God about the problem, and others realize their mistakes, because of Ezra's prayer. God, to the best of my knowledge and remembrance of the Bible, never says 'That's not nice, don't do it again'. While some may listen to His whispers in the night, the majority doesn't. He needs the thunder to get their attention, and this time He worked in their hearts when Ezra admitted their sin.
In His Service,