What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this.
For two weeks now, God has been calling me to do something which I just don’t have feelings for. I tried to manage the guilt by calling it mere delay and by compensating it with diligence in other worthwhile things. But who am I fooling here? If I bring that alibi to a boss, I’d probably get fired. If I give it as an excuse to a professor, I’d still flunk the course. If I offer that to my husband, he’d sure feel not loved at all. And if my kids do that to me, my kindest would be to nag them for days : )
Ezra's spirit was still high from their historical return from Babylon to Jerusalem when he heard the shocking news: the exiles were intermarrying. Why was that a big deal? First, it was their direct order from God not to. They were set apart as a nation under God and a marriage with a Gentile would compromise that bond. Second, it was exactly why they became slaves for seventy years in a foreign land, and in sin's bondage for many years prior that. The relationship of their kings and leaders with these pagan neighbors paved the way to idolatry resulting to God's wrath. And third, they all just got back from that mess! God’s word was clear to them that their release was so they could start anew with Him and be that holy nation again. Ezra sat down utterly appalled the whole day. Probably wondering how and if they could lift up their faces to God again.
‘Try offering your crippled sacrifices to your governor! Would he be pleased and accept you? Where is the honor due Me?’ Still, despite our evil deeds, God’s mercy still offered us clean slates in Christ. Even overwhelmed us with much grace after that. Now imagine Him hearing my ungrateful excuses to His call. Seriously? After all that He suffered on that Cross for me? Despite clearing my record of sins and shame? Add to that all the blessings I received from Him? How would His mercy appease His justice to pass over me again? And so today, like Ezra, I had to throw myself down before the God who deserves utmost honor and my obedience. Oh how dare me : (