Ezra 10:1-2 While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. 2 And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.
In the short time that Ezra was in Jerusalem he brought about real change to the community. Before he arrived there was little if any teaching of the Scripture. There was also very little leadership as evidenced by the leaders being most guilty of the sin (Ezra 9:2). So after four months there was a major shift in the feeling amongst the people.
So when Ezra is confronted with his first major crisis he not only shows us how to respond but also how to bring change to the people. His approach is counter intuitive but effective. It isn’t a quick fix but instead a long term solution. If we follow his lead in this we too can bring lasting change to our lives.
First we must understand that there is hope. There is no situation that Jesus can’t resurrect. The question we need to ask ourselves is are we ready to admit the situation is broke and admit our part in making it that way? Ezra shows us two steps to establish hope again.
- It’s Born Out of Brokenness: Ezra spent the whole day at the temple confessing, weeping, and casting himself before the Lord. This shows a real brokenness in his spirit. He was grieved over the sins of the people and he was laying before the Lord realizing that this situation in Israel was broke and he was incapable of fixing that.If we want to bring true change to our lives we must start with a broken spirit. This is a spirit that is devoid of pride, excuses, or blame. It is realizing that we are in over our heads and we need some help. As soon as the people saw Ezra they were cut to their hearts and gathered around weeping. They became a broken people by seeing Ezra’s reaction to their sin. Many times we become broken when we realize that our actions have hurt those closest to us.
- Accomplished thru Admitting Guilt: Then Shecaniah stood up and admitted the guilt of the people. “We have broken faith.” (Ezra 10:2) Once we realize our brokenness then we need to take the next step and admit our guilt. True change does not take place unless we admit what is wrong in the first place. No more excuses. No more pointing a finger in blame. We need to confess our sin so that we move on. Resisting this step and trying to change often proves fruitless.
When we admit our responsibility in what is broken something happens inside of us. Almost like something is lifted off of us or we are released from something that guilt that we have been feeling is lifted. Born out of that is a renewed hope that God is working in our lives. That hope in turn produces joy and peace. If you are contemplating changing an area of your life that has been hindering your spiritual growth start with admitting what’s broke and admitting your part in breaking it. Once you do you will be freed up to move on to making real change.