The sincerity and passion of Ezra's vicarious repentance produced immediate results. The people had gathered about him through the long hours of the day, and it would seem that they became conscious of the enormity of their sin as they saw how this man was so affected by it.
At last, one of their number spoke to him, acknowledging the sin, and suggesting the remedy. Then immediately Ezra became a man of action. He first called the people into sacred covenant, that they would put away the evil thing from among them; and then proceeded to lead them in carrying out their covenant with strict and impartial justice and severity. All the marriages contracted with the women of the land were annulled, and thus by drastic measures the people were brought back to the place of separation. How widespread the evil was is gathered from the list of the names with which the record closes. Priests, Levites, and people had been guilty. None of them was exempt from the reformation, which was carried out with great thoroughness.
The man who sets himself to seek, to do, to teach the law of God invariably brings himself to where sorrow will be his portion and intrepid courage his only strength. If such devotion issue in such experiences, it also is the secret of strength, enabling a man to stand for God, and realize His purpose; and thus, moreover, to be the true friend and deliverer of the people of God.
the First Week after Epiphany