Center of Hope Devotion – June, 4, 2021

Dear Friends,

After the Israelites rebuilt the temple, other spiritual issues came to the forefront. Soon Ezra learned that some Israelites had broken God’s commands by marrying into and being influenced by the pagan cultures.

When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled (Ezra 9:3).

When Ezra learned about the sin he reacted with distress and grief. He didn’t point fingers, gossip, or say it wasn’t his problem. His people had sinned and he accepted the spiritual responsibility they all faced. Ezra didn’t let sin or guilt keep him away from God. Instead, when the time came for evening sacrifices—the Israelite devotional time—he turned to God. Ezra prayed, acknowledging the sin and God’s grace.

As Ezra led the way, the Israelites committed to a plan of action to remove sin from their lives. Then Ezra’s role was to support them as they again sought to be holy.

Thought for Today: How do I respond when I learn about sin in my life, my home, my city, or my nation? How can I follow Ezra’s example?