Read Ezra Chapter 9
Ezr 9:13 “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 have deserved and have given us a remnant like this. 14 Shall we again break Your commands and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would You not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor? 15 O LORD, God of Israel, You are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before You in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in Your presence.”
Once again, let us take time to think about how fortunate we are. We are not living in Old Testament times, when our sinfulness would have put us in danger of being stoned to death. We are not living in times when we cannot admit our weaknesses and seek help and encouragement. We are living in a time when Jesus offers us complete forgiveness for our misdeeds. We live in an era when Christ has opened the door for all SSA men and women to partake of His righteousness. We are a remnant much like the remnant mentioned in this passage from Ezra.
We have not been punished as our sins deserve. We have been given the opportunity to repent and begin a life of living for God instead of living for our fleshly desires. We have the option of following Christ and avoiding being destroyed by our Creator. There is no need for us to wallow in self-pity. We have every reason to rejoice – not over our righteousness, but rejoice over the grace and mercy which we have been afforded.
The discourse in this passage is a beautiful prayer! Let’s use it and also expand on it just a bit.
“Here we stand, O LORD, God of Israel. We stand before You fully in our guilt, having no argument to present to You that can save us. We have no right to stand in Your presence. We deserve eternal punishment. Yet, here we are, made cleansed and whole before You because of the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. You did not destroy us as a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt.”
“Shall we again break Your commands? We hope not. Shall we decide to “marry” someone of our same gender? Certainly not! Shall we continue to engage in those detestable practices? We definitely desire to be done with those things. Thank You because You have not been angry enough with us to destroy us, this remnant of SSA men and women who desire to obey and honor You with our lives.”
Prayer: We repeat this prayer over and over to You. We also pray as Paul prayed:
Ro 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!