Ezra 9:3-5 As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. 4 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. 5 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,
When we are confronted with sin how do we react? Are we defensive, do we deny it, or do we admit it? Human nature leans towards covering over our sins and giving the appearance that everything is okay. The real question is what is the Godly response? Ezra shows us how we are to respond to sin when we are confronted with it.
- Express Grief: As soon as Ezra heard about the people’s sin he tore his garments and rip the hair out of his head and beard. Some would think that this is an overly dramatic act but we must remember that Ezra was a man guided by scripture and he knew the acts the Jews were doing were detestable to God. What he shows us is that when we respond to sin there needs to be a deep remorse on our part. Unfortunately most of us only feel guilty because we got caught. There needs to be a reaction from us that shows a deep grieving over our sin. Ezra ripping his clothes was a sign that he was deeply grieved.
- Gather Godly People to Pray: After that Ezra sat appalled or in disbelief. Soon others started to gather around him. The Bible describes them as those who trembled at the word of God. This means that they were convicted by scripture. They began to mourn and pray with Ezra. When we confront our sin we need to gather Godly people around us to pray for us. James 5:16 says to “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.” When we confess our sin and have Godly people pray for us it is effective in our lives
- Humble Yourself: Ezra dropped to his knees and stretched out his arms and prayed. When we fall to our knees it is a sign that we are submitting to someone. Ezra was humbling himself before God and positioning himself to seek Him. When we express grief and confess our sins to others it takes us through a humbling process. This is necessary for us to move from responding to recovering from our sin. Part of our posture in responding to sin is that we should humble ourselves before the Lord. Realize in our mind that we have blown it big time and that we need Jesus to make it right.