07/13/21 Grace over Grief

READING: Ezra 8-10, Acts 11

Some time ago, I wrote a blog post entitled, “When You Grieve a Prodigal’s Sin More than He or She Does.” As I read today’s Old Testament passage about Ezra’s grief over the sins of God’s people, I’ve thought about that post. Note the anguish in these texts:

  • When Ezra learned about the intermarriage of the Israelites, he, according to his own words, “tore my tunic and robe, pulled out some of the hair from my head and beard, and sat down devastated” (Ezra 9:3). 
  • Ezra sat devastated and then fell on his knees before the Lord. 
  • He identified with the sins of the people and expressed the brokenness of his heart: “My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward you, my God, because our iniquities are higher than our heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens” (Ezra 9:6). 
  • Knowing that no one could stand in the presence of a holy God, Ezra “prayed and confessed, weeping and falling facedown before the house of God” (Ezra 10:1). 

All the while, Ezra realized that God had graciously preserved a remnant of His people; he wrote, “you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserve and have allowed us to survive” (Ezra 9:13). Thus, Ezra’s grief was real and deep, but God’s grace was deeper still. 

PRAYER: “God, forgive me for my sins today, whatever they may be. Grant me Your grace.”   

DAILY ACTION STEP:  Don’t just flippantly confess your sin today. Grieve it, but then live in God’s grace.    

TOMORROW’S READING: Nehemiah 1-4, Acts 12:1-13:12

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