“And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent (torn) my garment and my mantle (robe), I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.”Ezra 9:5-6
I have gone through many times in my life when I have begged for mercy. I have been caught “redhanded”, “with my hand in the cookie jar”, and any other phrase that well-describes that unpleasant situation. I have neglected to study for my elementary school tests and desperately wrote “I love you” on the last page hoping to get a better grade. I have promised to never do things again to get out of a current situation, and I have been in some pretty hot water situations in which I did not know a way out. Many times in my life I wished I could rewind time and go back a day or two. I have seen a fair amount of time in the principal’s office, and I have placed myself in situations where I vowed I would never end up there again, only to be in the same spot in a mater of weeks. God has spared me from many things in life, and I have seen Him go after me when I desired to go my own way.
I wish I could say my first reaction when I got caught in sin was remorse and regret, but I only had remorse and regret because I knew I had to face the consequences of my sin. I knew my bottom would be glowing like Rudolph’s nose, or I knew I would fall out of favor and trust in a valued relationship. I hate to make the same mistake twice, but there were some besetting sins that I have committed more times than I can count. I would think God would grow tire of forgiving me for the same thing several times a day, but He has always been faithful just as He said in 1 John 1:9. He has brought sin to my attention that I had forgotten about, but He never forgot and I needed to make it right.
I remember the altar calls at summer camp where the Holy Spirit was at work, and I felt as though the whole camp knew of my sinful life. I have experienced the burden and guilt of my sin so heavy that I felt like if I did not go forward and confess my sins that my heart was going to beat out of my chest. One note of “Have Thine Own Way” or “I Surrender All” was enough to compel me to go forward and weep over my sins. I now remember these times fondly, and there are still times when God brings to remembrance my sinful ways and breaks me over my sinful past. I would like to get to the point where I do not need a church service or camp meeting to convict me of my sins, but I would like to keep my sin account current where I am broken over my sin the moment He brings it to mind.
The sad fact is sometimes we do not grieve over our sin, but instead we relish in it and hold onto it as if were the most precious thing. We act like we have been fighting the enemy, even though we have been on the same team and collaborating together. Sin is not something to be celebrated or even talked about in glowing terms, but it is something to be mourned over and confessed. We oftentimes get comfortable in our sin and need a good old-fashioned spiritual cleansing. In these verses, Ezra describes his shame as he wept over the sin of the people and grieved over the trespasses that were committed.
Do you weep over your sin? Are you sorry that you were caught, or do you feel genuine sorrow for your sinful actions? Do you weep over your sin or have you grown quite comfortable in it? May sin bring about shame in our life, and may we always seek to keep our accounts current with Him. It should not take a revival service to weep over our sin, but we should instead ask God to search our hearts. May God help us to be like Ezra when it comes to our sin, and may we always be prepared to meet our Savior.