1. Application

Recognize the Offence of Sin

Ezra 9:1–15 (ESV)

1 After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.

Ezra’s prayer recognizes the offence of sin. He does not dismiss sin as being a trivial matter. In the language he uses, he mentions guilt (Ezra 9:6–7, Ezra 9:13, Ezra 9:15), evil deeds (Ezra 9:13), and detestable practices (Ezra 9:14). He doesn’t talk about mistakes, weaknesses, or being broken. He doesn’t use language that excuses responsibility; he recognizes sin for what it is: rebellion against God.

Ezra also goes further than this when he acknowledges that this rebellion against God shows itself in history. In Ezra 9:7 he talks about how sin has been evident from the days of our forefathers until now. Ezra sees sin as a pattern, something that is repeated throughout life.

As modern people, when we talk about sin there is a tendency to sometimes talk about mistakes and weaknesses because such language comforts us with the idea that our sin is an isolated incident. Every now and again we do something that we know is wrong, but if you get to know us better you’ll see that we’re generally good people, we’re not rebellious at heart. Of course when it comes to other people, then the patterns are clear. He is a drunk, she is a gossip; but me, I’m a good person who simply makes mistakes.

However, the language Ezra uses makes it clear that sin is a very big deal: guilt, abomination, evil deeds. Sin is not a trivial matter, sin is not a mistake or an accident. Breaking God’s commandments and ignoring his will is deserving of wrath and judgment.