Today’s Reading: Ezra 10
Today’s Reflection: Ezra 10:11-12
11) Now then make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12) Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said.”
As Ezra was leading the Jewish exiles who had returned to Judah, he identified a critical sin they had to repent of. The men of Israel had been instructed not to take foreign wives (Ezra 10:2). It’s important to note the real issue was neither women, nor foreigners (both Ruth and Rahab were non-Jewish women who became part of the assembly of Israel and the lineage of Jesus). The issue was men were marrying women who worshipped pagan gods and foreign idols, bringing a corrupting influence into the worship of the true God. This could not continue.
What the men of Israel did next, as lead by Ezra the servant of the Lord, gives us a perfect example of how we should behave when we become aware that we have committed a sin against God:
1) Confess: We need to be honest with God about what we’ve done and confess our sins to Him. Stop making excuses, exceptions and denials. Just be real with God. Even if you’re not sure you can change. It’s not until you drop the façade that God can really work with you. You should also confess to those who you have wronged, and confess to trusted members of your Christian community so they can help keep you accountable.
James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
2) Repent: The word for repent in the New Testament is ‘metanoia’, a military term that means ‘about-face’. An about-face is a marching step causing someone to make a 180-degree turn and ends with the person facing the opposite way. To repent, or ‘metanoia’, means to completely turn away from sin. Part of your repentance may involve Restoration. When you have harmed someone due to your sin, though you can’t take the harm back you can repay the hurt party.
Acts 3:19 – Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
3) Do: When you repent and turn away from your sin, God sets you on a new path. He replaces your old behaviours with something new, but you have to be obedient and do the new thing God has called you to.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.