And 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

The speaker of these words was the priest Ezra who was instrumental in a revival among God’s people. As some of the grave sins of the people came to light, Ezra’s heart was grieved. 

Was Ezra overreacting? Our human nature and the world around us tell us we shouldn’t get too worked up over this thing called sin. Ezra was ashamed of their sins because he understood the character and and nature of God. The world doesn’t think sin is a big deal because the world is not holy. But, because God is holy and pure and righteous, sin of every kind is an affront and offense to His perfect character. If we see our sins compared with other sinners, they may not look so terrible. But, when we see our sins compared with God, we see things more clearly. Do you see the perfect character of God?

Ezra was also ashamed of their sins because of how good God had been to Israel. “How can we sin so stubbornly against Him who has been so good to us?” is one of the sentiments of the rest of the prayer. Friend, every breath of air we receive is a gift from God. Our health, families, and so many other things are merciful favors. In addition, those who are in Christ have been eternally blessed with the saving love and forgiveness of God. This should lead to a heart of deep thanksgiving to God, which will have a purifying effect on our lives. Do you see God’s goodness to you?

In view of God’s holy character and plentiful blessings in our lives, may we seek to live lives of loving obedience to Him. When we sin, may we not shrug it off or make long lists of excuses, but rather may we confess and repent in light of the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God shows us our sins, not to crush us, but to bring us again to our need of grace. May we see what Ezra could see!

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