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 tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. – Ezra 10v3
I will admit that I don’t understand this whole situation. I don’t understand the putting away of these pagan wives that the men had married. It is one of those things where I just have to trust God that He knows and does and directs rightly in every situation. But I will have to lay that aside until I get to heaven when I know it will all make sense.
Now, the key point here is clear. God had convinced the nation that they had sinned. Ezra acknowledged it and shared it with the nation. He went on and prayed on behalf of the people. He admitted the guilt and made no excuse for it.
But then they went a step further. They decided to set things right. Since marrying these pagan women was a violation of God’s instructions they decided to put them away.
Their actions manifest a real truth. True repentance is always reflected in action. Repentance that only takes place in the mind is not really repentance. How many times has God dealt with our hearts about something, we decide we have to do something about it, and then we end up doing nothing?
When that happens have we truly repented? If we don’t act do we really repent? It appears to me from the teaching of scripture that faith that produces repentance also produces works worthy of that repentance.
When Ezra and the people repented they set about making things right. They set the perfect example for us.