“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 . . .” (Ezra 9:1)
How easy it is to jump right back into sin! Even after the great punishment—the 70 years of Babylonian captivity—the people of Judea quickly forgot why they had been forced out of their homes and into captivity, and returned to their old ways! How easy it might have been for Ezra to simply give up on the people! After all, he was not the one who had jumped into sin! But like Moses of old, he stood firm as a mighty man of God, seeing it as his purpose to spearhead reform. What did he do in the face of despair? He lamented until sunset—showing publicly the sincerity of his grief, then he prayed a mighty prayer of supplication to God, humbly admitting his own sin, while associating himself with the sinful organization. His was a prayer of true confession: “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens . . . ” (Ezra 9:6-7).
What is our response when members of our churches turn aside from what they know to be right and return to their lives of sin? Do we disassociate ourselves from them? Do we criticize them? Do we denounce their sin and push for discipline? Or, like Ezra, do we humbly associate ourselves with those who have sinned and pray a prayer of supplication for those who have done wrong?
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org