Ezra 9:3-4 When I heard this, I tore my clothing, pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat down utterly shocked. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel came and sat with me because of this unfaithfulness of his people. And I sat there utterly appalled until the time of the evening sacrifice.
Ezra had just been informed that many of the Israelites had intermarried with the people around them. God had made it very clear that they were not to do it. This was a grave sin for them. By intermarrying with the pagan nations around them, they had defiled themselves. They had weakened themselves by embracing the pagan gods of their spouses.
Ezra simply couldn’t believe it. He was in a state of spiritual shock. He didn’t know what to say or do. He sat down and contemplated what he should do. He couldn’t just ignore this sin.
I wonder how we respond to the sin around us. Have we grown so accustomed to it that we are no longer in shock over it? Are we guilty of embracing it instead of resisting it? Have we forgotten God’s commands and no longer live by them? Have we let the thinking of the world around us take the edge off of what God says we must be like? When was the last time any of us sat down in shock over how far we have wandered away from holy living?
We consider ourselves faithful followers of God, yet are we? Are we really following the Lord into holiness of life? I don’t think very many of us really grasp what it means to be holy. We are not as separated from sin as we say we are. We tend to call that which is unholy holy. We justify ourselves instead of letting the Lord change us. We select those things we want to be holy in and those things we don’t. We fail to grasp that holiness is a way of life that affects every part of our being and living. We don’t determine what holiness is, God does. Living submissively to the Word of God makes us holy. What God says is sin is sin. Period.