For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.
After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God, saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today.
After all the confirmation, trust, commissions, encouragement to be blind-sided with this blow! “I am ashamed…” Ezra took upon himself the wrongs committed by his people and their leadership to go before the Lord God in humility and remorse. Can we feel his intense sorrow? Starting anew and there’s sin in the camp! We too bear the burden of our nation’s wrongs, our leadership’s failures. We are in the world, not of it. We are rained upon just as those who commit those offenses are rained upon. And as Ezra did we can take this to the Lord God asking for mercy. Are our hearts not troubled today? Does the Spirit not quicken us to raise our voices in prayer? Though we be free and cleansed in Christ, we are not free of the desire to be the light in the darkness.
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