Day 148: Welcome back (Ezra)

Posted: August 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

No matter how far we have strayed from the LORD, or how long it has been since we have worshiped Him, He is always able to restore us, restore our relationship with Him and rebuild us from the foundation up. This lesson was abundantly clear in the book of Ezra.

I took a few days to read through this book from beginning to end. It isn’t a very long book, only 10 chapters – but I felt for this book that one post on Ezra would be satisfactory, because all throughout it, I was bombarded with the same message, the power of God’s redemptive power, His grace and His mercy that he shows us every time we sin and seek repentance. We don’t deserve His forgiveness, but time after time, He opens His arms of love and mercy, and welcomes us home. Every time we repent, he takes us back.

When the book of Ezra opens up, the Israelites are gone, taken captive in Babylon, and the temple lies in ruins. The nation is in shambles. But God moves in the heart of King Cyrus, and he lets a contingent of Jews back to their land to restore the temple, an amazing thing that God moves in the heart of a pagan king, but it goes to show that God is able to use anything for His glory! When the people return, the temple is rebuilt, the sacrificial system is restored and all seems well for nearly 6o years. Then Ezra returns.

What he sees is “appalling” – people intermarrying with foreigners, introducing pagan customs and idol worship being the main concern. Ezra falls to his knees in grief and despair, tearing his hair and robes, begging God for forgiveness for his people, and what does God do? He takes them back. As the book ends, the foreign influences are purged and Israel seems to be back on the right track, but Ezra’s actions are the key here. His attitude is contagious among the people. His sincere humility in the presence of God influenced the entire nation to follow God. What an awesome reminder of how to be a leader when it comes to worship, prayer and fellowship with our Savior.

I hear a lot of people, even believers, say that some of the things they have done are “unforgivable,” or that “I’m too bad a person to be loved by God.” Apparently, these people don’t read Scripture, because people in the Bible have done it all – murder, rape, deception, lies, thievery, you name it, people have done it, and God has forgiven it through mercy. In Ezra, the people find a place of repentance, and God send them back home. It’s a rough road, filled with pot holes, U-turns and detours, but eventually, God leads them back to Him. What a comforting reminder for us, as we struggle with our own sins. No matter what you have done, God has seen it, God has forgiven it, and He can do the same for you – all you have to do is ask. Praise God for his mercy and love! Amen!

As I wrote this tonight, I couldn’t get this song out of my head. It goes great with this message tonight. It’s by one of my favorite artists, Jeremy Camp. It’s called, “Take you Back,” off of his album “Restored.” Check out the video below! And check out my post tomorrow on the first few chapters of the book of Nehemiah!


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