January 14, 2014

Coming Clean

Ezra 10:1-17

“In spite of this, there is still hope for Israel.”
—Ezra 10:2


From 1861-65, the United States fought a war against itself over the issue of slavery. It was a glaring stain in American history. In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives issued an apology to African Americans, took responsibility, and admitted that slavery was wrong. In 2009, the U.S. Senate issued a similar apology.

Healing doesn’t begin until people who have done wrong take responsibility for their actions. The people of God wanted to be healed of their rebellion of intermarrying with other peoples and adopting their gods and detestable practices. Ezra prayed for God’s forgiveness, and the people needed to do their part in the reconciliation process.

The people gathered around and wept. They admitted they had rejected God&lsquos command to remain holy. They confessed their sin to Ezra and to God.

In the pouring rain, Ezra demanded that the Israelites get right with God. They took measures to confess their sins, separate from the foreign families and practices, and submit to doing God’s will. This was not without great pain. Families were ripped apart. But at this time in Israel’s history it was the way to make things right.

When we come clean, God forgives us. And confession must be followed by action. When we turn back to doing God’s will, our witness becomes credible and our spirits begin to sing again.

Lord, I confess my sin, and I want to live according to your will. Please help me live faithfully for you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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