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Broken Over Sin In the Body

Ezra 9:6

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When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.
Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God and prayed:
“I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.

Ezra 9:3-6 NIV

By all accounts, Ezra was a godly man. He was a priest and well-versed in the Law. And he had returned to Judea to teach the returning exiles. His devotion to God and his faithfulness were unquestionable.

And yet, in this passage, we find Ezra broken and ashamed before God. Why? Not because of anything he personally had done or had condoned. But rather because of what other people had done. Some members of the community had married women from the surrounding peoples, contrary to what the Law instructed.

In Ezra’s mind, the sin of these folks was not just a personal thing for them. Their sin was like cancer that was eating away at the whole community. A community that he was a part of. So the sin was not just that of the individuals. It was the sin of the body, of the whole community. And Ezra took it personally. He took responsibility for it as he took it to God. And then he led out in removing that sin from the community.

Is it any different today? When there is sin within the church, is it isolated to just a few individuals? Or does it impact the whole body? Should I not be broken before God because of sin in the body, and take it personally? Would our churches not be better off if, instead of being accepting of sin, we responded like Ezra or Nehemiah (Neh. 1:4)? To fall down on our faces before God in sorrow and repentance? And then responding to his leadership.

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

3 thoughts on “Broken Over Sin In the Body – Ezra 9:6”

  1. I sometimes think oh how much better my life would have been had I always worshipped God and abided by his laws. My son had committed an unspeakable act and I sit here and blame myself over and over again. We were a family that always believed in God but sadly I didn’t put him first. But unfortunately we can never go back to what was. We can only move forward. I feel that God is with me now and I pray every night that He never leaves me. Father, in the name of Jesus, please protect my son and our family. Amen. I so look forward to your emails. They are the light at the end of a dark tunnel. Thank you so much.

    • You are right. The past is behind us, and there is nothing we can do about it. All we can do is look forward to what the Lord has for us today and in the days to come. Regardless of what is in the past, just walk faithfully with him now.


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