13 “What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, You have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this.”
Ezra 9:13 (NIV)
Living in a fog is rough. But moments do come when a fog lifts and things become clear. I keep seeing the lift happen in me and others. Do you?
God unscales eyes best. He can really operate. He’s #1 at helping us see ourselves, others, and even Him as we ought. These are great moments … life-changers, really. They’re to be cherished.
Such was the case for Ezra. A bundle of five things came clear for him. And he wanted his family and friends to see it too. History wouldn’t have to repeat itself if they did.
Here’s the bundle:
AWARENESS: Ezra clearly saw consequences for actions, especially with regard to sin. He saw sin and the need for making adjustments, like obedience and repentance.
HONESTY: Ezra boldly owned up to sin. He didn’t minimize or blameshift. He called deeds evil and guilt great. And he admitted something to God that’s rare; that God’s punishment for their sin was less than their crime deserved.
MERCY: Ezra also acknowledged mercy received. Most people don’t. He saw the Lord as full of mercy, not just long on punishment. “He does not treat us as our sins deserve” is the message the Lord wants us to get (Psalm 103:10).
GRACE: Ezra realized the remnant left was a gracious gift. Like getting backstage passes to the biggest event, God’s people got far more access than they thought. It was beautiful, touching, powerful.
HOPE: Ezra saw hope on the horizon. Having a remnant meant future hope. The end of the line had not been reached. God gave Ezra and his people something more to look forward to. He gave them reason for hope.
What a sweet, strong bundle! Having it alive and active in you and me will help us see clearly and press on well.
Reflect: How well are you seeing consequences for sin? How good are you at calling sin “sin” and admitting it freely to God and others with no blameshifting? Have you acknowledged God’s mercy lately? Are you living in hope?
A prayer to consider: LORD, what a terrific bundle I get in the awareness, honesty, mercy, grace and hope I find through You. Help me keep seeing this bundle play out in me. Amen.