Ezra 9:6 — “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our head and our guilt has reached to the heavens.”
Sometimes good things get messed up. Recently, I took a walk in a local park. As I strolled along the winding path by the creek, I realized I needed to pay attention to my steps.
Ahead of me were about 35 geese, and strewn around was evidence that this was their home. The path was covered with droppings, leaving little room for walking. This beautiful setting was certainly messed up.
Ezra, God’s chosen leader, had led a group of Israelites home to Jerusalem. Their disobedience to God’s law had resulted in their exile in Babylon. There was much excitement as the displaced people finally made their way back to their homeland.
The temple had been rebuilt. Many sacrifices had been made and Passover had been celebrated. But Ezra hadn’t been home long before he realized some good things had become messed up.
The resident leaders approached Ezra and gave the bad news that the people, including the leaders, hadn’t kept themselves separate from their idol-worshipping neighbors. In fact, some had intermarried and started families despite God’s clear command to remain detached. These marriages had caused many to walk a path polluted with detestable practices.
Ezra was devastated. Tearing his clothes and pulling hair from his head and beard, he bowed down before the Lord in grief.
God in His mercy had given the people of Israel a second chance after their great unfaithfulness by restoring them to their promised land. But now they were again headed down the same path of disobedience.
The people gathered around their weeping leader and were soon convicted of their sin. Deciding to make things right, they agreed to put away the wives who did not follow their God. Despite the great agony of broken relationships, these men made amends and committed to do right before God.
Today God’s people can also find themselves in a lot of muck. Good things get messed up when we, or others around us, choose to disobey God. Often the consequences are difficult. But there is a way through our mess.
God is always ready to hear the confession of a grieved heart, and a change of action proves a change of heart. Humbly ask for forgiveness. Change your actions. And, despite the difficulty it might entail, God promises to respond.
When good things get messed up, He will still hear. He will always forgive, and He can redeem those who call and turn from their wicked ways.
Sandra Sheridan is a Midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her messages to her children with Farm World. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com