Ezra chapter 9 is basically a prayer, at least its last two-thirds, from verse 6 until the chapter’s end, verse 15. In fact, it is a GREAT prayer! (Something interesting about the Bible, Daniel chapter 9 is such a prayer. As is Nehemiah chapter 9! Wow!)
I just saw where a Bible teacher labeled Ezra 9:1-5 “the faithlessness of the people.” Then he called Ezra 9:6-15 “the Faithfulness of God!” Pretty accurate!
But for today, we notice the man of God (Ezra) at prayer.
First, recognize this is not just a “personal” prayer. Its pronouns are plural! This is a leader confessing the sins of his wayward people. If “wayward” is too strong an adjective, try “unseparated.” Worldly, carnal!
“And (Ezra) said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.” Ezra 9:6, national sins are in view! Loads of them!
(Listen to a part of Daniel’s parallel prayer: “(Lord) we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.” Daniel 9:5-6)
A Nation repenting!
Back to Ezra’s pleading … “O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.” Ezra 9:15
Thank God for the truth 1st John 1:9 verbalizes: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So Ezra confessed, and God forgave!
(Oh, to have national prayer meetings like this again today! 2nd Chronicles 7:14 style: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” God is still faithful!)
Confession of sin!
But … confession is not all that is needed!
One more verb needs emphasis now. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth AND FORSAKETH them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13, “forsaking” sins, also an essentiality!
And that fact leads us to Ezra chapter 10, Monday’s Lesson, the Lord willing.
The FORSAKING part of the “forgiveness” (“confession”) equation!
Someone reading here today, pray for America!
If she falls … we all hurt!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell