Ezra 3:11 (ESV) … “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”
There is an uncommon degree of sweetness in this account. The mercy of God endureth for ever. Surely this mercy is Jesus. And did not the Israelites consider it so when they sung the hymn? Jesus is the firstborn in the womb of mercy. He is emphatically called mercy; even the mercy promised. Luke 1:72. And as all mercies are folded up in him, and can only be opened from him, and by him; this makes the song sweet indeed, and may well be sung everlastingly, for this mercy of Jehovah in Jesus endureth for ever.
It endured even while in Babylon; for the efficacy of redemption by him was as great in that season as in any other. Reader! shall not you and I join the song, and shout aloud in praises from the same cause, Jesus, the mercy of Jehovah, endureth for ever.
Ezra accepted the plan. He immediately swore in the leading priests and Levites as the committee to investigate the matter and see to it that the law was obeyed. But instead of participating immediately in the investigation, he withdrew into one of the rooms of the temple to fast and pray for God’s guidance. He left it to the special committee to make the decisions and tell the people what to do. Wise is the leader who involves other people in the process, especially when the issue is so sensitive.
In verse 4 we see the congregation supporting Ezra to get to the work of sanctifying the people. So, the committee issued a proclamation to the people of Jerusalem and of the outlying villages to appear in Jerusalem within three days or be in danger of expulsion from the community. At that time, each marriage would be investigated, and the committee would discover who had violated the Mosaic Law.
A humble praying leader, a willing people, and a faithful and courageous committee worked together to accomplish a difficult task. What an example for the church to follow today!