DEVOTION:HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND?

After Ezra and his team delivered what they had brought from Babylon, the leaders came to see him in order to brief Ezra on the spiritual welfare of the remnant. But this report was not a good one.

After these things had been done, the leaders came to me and said, “The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices, like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites. They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness. Ezra 9:1-2

 

Judging by Ezra’s response, this was very depressing news.

When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. Ezra 9:3

 

But Ezra was not the only one who was appalled by this news.

Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice. Ezra 9:4

 

Ezra’s next step was to approach God concerning this sin of the people.

Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God.Ezra 9:5

 

Pay attention to how Ezra spoke to God in Prayer.

I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today. Ezra 9:6-7

 

This is a very interesting response. Ezra did not sin. Those who came with him did not participate in this sin and yet they that feared the words of the Lord, trembled before the Lord. Ezra went a step further to confess on behalf of the whole Nation. But he was not confident approaching God. He said, “I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens”.

 

APPLICATION:

  1. How would you have responded to such news if you were Ezra?
  2. How do you respond when you hear of your fellow Christians in church who are living in sin?
    1. What is your first natural response?
    2. Who is the first person you would want to talk to about it?
    3. Do you have any plans to talk to this individual/individuals?
  3. Unfortunately, Ezra’s response is not the typical response you find among some Christians. It is very rare to find Christians who would do exactly what Ezra did. Many would feel the pain of shame and embarrassment to the church of Christ. Close friends or members of the same church will shed tears. But to confess this sin on behalf of these individual or the whole church, that is hard to find. Yet, this is the attitude we find among Old Testament saints. Read the prayers of Daniel and Nehemiah and you will see this attitude toward the sins of others.
  4. If you and I care about that which belongs to God, then our response should be guided by protecting the name of God.
    1.  We should not look at individuals, but on how what they have done will affect the progress of God’s work here on earth.
    2.  We should be concerned about how Satan will take this sin and try to destroy the work of God.
    3. You and I should be concerned about how the sin of believers will affect young believers as well as non-believers.
    4. Every believer should be concerned about the testimony of the church.
    5. Anyone who has a “don’t care” attitude does not really care about that which belongs to God.
    6. We should be pro-active in preventing anything that will bring shame to the church of Christ.
  5. Maybe you have acted indifferently in the past when other believers have fallen into sin. Maybe you gossiped about them. Maybe you were not sorry or remorseful about their sin. If so, then, ask God to forgive you because you were being selfish and self-righteous.
  6. In what other ways has this passage spoken to you?

 

When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.

Ezra 9:3-4

Here is a question for you?

HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND?

Read: Ezra 9:1-7

Marked: 9:3

By Pastor Shadrack [email protected]

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