I have FINALLY made it to the new testament. Let me just say, it is good to be here.
But, before leaving the old testament I want to share something that's been on my mind pretty constantly since reading the book of Ezra. In chapters 9-10, I am challenged by the way Ezra reacts to sin. The people of Israel have [surprise, surprise] committed sins by being highly unfaithful. When Ezra hears this, he is devastated, appalled... (9:3-6). Ezra trembled at the word of God. Because of his distraught over the sin these people have committed, he falls on his knees with hands raised, and prays. And in case we didn't catch his reaction the first time Ezra 10:1 tells us again. Ezra was...
Throwing himself down before the house of God.
Wow. This has really challenged me lately. As I've recognized sin this week, I can't help but think of Ezra. Shouldn't my reaction be like his? Shouldn't I take sin as seriously as he did? And, in all honesty, my reaction to sin doesn't come close to Ezra's. And I want it to. It should. I want the act of sinning to drive me to my knees! I want to tremble at the word of God. I want to feel the seriousness of not only my sin, but others sin. So much that it forces me face down, and literally crying out to the only righteous being on behalf of brothers, sisters, friends, and even strangers.
Then, to add to the coolness of this passage, a crowd of Israelites join Ezra ("...they too wept bitterly.") Ok, lets talk about this...This is community. People joining people. Praying. Broken for brothers and sisters. AND...what a cool illustration of the way people influence each other. We do what we see others do. When I act [in a way that reflects Christ], I pray that it drives others to do the same.
Oh, Ezra. You have challenged me and given me new perspectives. Now, may I figure out how to make this real life, not just something that happened in the old testament.