1 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. 2 Then Shekaniah…aid to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God…But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. 3 Now let us make a covenant before our God…Let it be done according to the Law. 4 Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” (Ezra 10:1-4)
During this time, Israel had broken the law of the Lord by intermingling with the pagan people of the countries around them. This brought them to turn away from God and worship false gods, which brought trouble upon the nation. Yet the people did not turn back to God when trouble came.
Not all of God’s chosen people had forgotten Him. Ezra, a priest of the time, wept for Israel’s sin in the temple. When others saw Ezra’s tears, they began to realize that they had done wrong with God. The Israelites confessed their sin, and turned away from it. Not only that, but the people took action to rid the nation of pagan influence that tempted them to worship other gods.
After we sin we often feel hopeless, as if God doesn’t want us back or that we will never be the same again. However, this is not true! Even when we fall or back slide into the worst of sin, with Jesus there is still hope!
First, we must confess our sins. The Bible says that when we confess our sins to God, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:9). We can tell God what we have done, and He will forgive us. Next, we need to turn away from our sin, or our confession means nothing. Turning away means that we stop our sinning and avoid it (Acts 3:19). We are already forgiven by Jesus, but we need to hold up our part of the deal so we can be forgiven.
Lastly, as verse 4 says above, take action to avoid your sin. The Israelites took the action to remove the pagan influence from around them so that they would not be tempted to sin again. When something causes us to sin, we don’t want to let go of it. However, the Bible says “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,” (Mark 9:47). Is this thing you are holding onto more important than God? This is what we need to ask ourselves.
If you’ve stumbled on your path with God, remember that there is still hope for you! God welcomes you back and will forgive you for all that you’ve done. Confess to him, turn away from your old ways, and take action to avoid sin.