To make a long story short, Ezra returns to Jerusalem as a leader to resume a massive rebuilding project that had actually started some 80 years prior but had received much opposition. When he arrives he discovers that his fellow Jews have married pagans. This polluted the religious purity of the Jewish people and threatened the future of their nation.
When Ezra made this discovery he tore his clothes, pulled hair from his scalp and beard and sat down before the Lord. The Bible says he was appalled. His sadness over the condition of his people led him to cry out to God.
I feel led to share the two verses that have held me captive all day. I'll let you read them and then I'll share some thoughts that I journaled.
"While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly." (Ezra 10:1)
"Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles." (Ezra 10:6)
Here were my thoughts as I considered Ezra and his response to sin:
- When was the last time I collapsed and cried my eyes out as I considered the ugliness of my sin?
- When was the last time I was so saddened over sin that I could not or would not eat and drink?
I'm thankful for the time I spent in Ezra this morning. His story served as a loud reminder of how sin ought to grieve God's people.