3 When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.
5 Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God 6 and prayed… -Ezra 9:3-6
The sign of a godly life is that a person is sensitive to sin. When Ezra was told the people, led by the priests and Levites, had broken God’s law and had been marrying women who did not follow their God, he was shaken.
Instead of changing the channel or starting a petition, he grieved. In Jewish culture, tearing one’s clothing and pulling hair from the head or beard were signs of mourning. Ezra visibly mourned the sins of his people.
Ezra was not alone in his mourning, however. We are told those who trembled at the worlds of the God of Israel joined him. After some time, he led them in prayer, repenting of the sins of his people.
Could we reflect this mourning in our lives today? Instead of complaining about the problems of our society or becoming desensitized to the sin around us, what if we truly mourned? What if we stopped everything to ask God to forgive the sins of those in our community? What would God do? How would he respond? Let us being by repenting from sin in our own lives, then asking God for mercy upon those around us.
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Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of all 31,173 verses of the Bible at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.