Ezra’s Confession

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Ezra 9:1-15, Psalm 130:1-4, 1 John 1:5-10

Of all the spiritual disciplines available to us as believers, I’ll confess that confession is my least favorite.

Call it the chronic perfectionist in me, but I cannot stand having to face feelings or emotions commonly associated with confession. While I know the promise of freedom that’s on the other side, it’s still hard to honestly face the sin of my pride. 

If it’s that difficult for me to do with my own sin, I can’t imagine having to go to the Lord and confess the sins of an entire nation. That’s exactly what Ezra has to do in our reading today—carry this huge weight before God in openness and honesty so he can receive God’s wisdom. And it’s not even Ezra’s sin! Ezra didn’t disobey God’s commands not to marry into neighboring tribes and fall into pagan worship. Ezra’s the guy who wanted to restore true worship and the law of God in the newly rebuilt temple! Yet he’s the one we see devastated before God and distressed that this degree of separation has occurred between God and the people—so much so that he takes it to God as if it were his wrongdoing. 

I can’t help but see a little foreshadowing of Jesus here. Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for all sin, committed no wrongdoing and yet was so heartbroken over the sin of humanity that He carried that weight to the cross Himself. We vividly see how painful this brokenness is for Jesus—John’s Gospel tells us that in His final breaths, Jesus cries out to God, asking why He’s been abandoned. That’s how deeply the pain of separation from His Father cut. Ezra had a taste of that sorrow as he watches the Israelites stepping away from God’s law.

In reading this chapter, I’m reminded of how seriously God takes sin. Ezra did not mince words when he honestly stood before God in confession. 

We also must carefully navigate the tensions between understanding the damaging effects of separation from God and the enemy’s lies that want to keep my attention trapped inside the shame of sin. The unwavering hope of salvation in Christ promises I am free to follow Jesus, unencumbered by sin’s weight of death and shame. 

I love that 1 John 1:9 is paired with today’s reading in Ezra because it helps me focus on the reason Ezra models confession for the people: to grant them the freedom of repentance, of turning back to God—because the promise of forgiveness is always waiting for them.

(46) Comments

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46 thoughts on "Ezra’s Confession"

  1. Estefania De Jesus says:

    Forgiveness is one of the peculiar characteristics of Christianity! Most religions condemn sin to the point of unworthiness, but we, as Christians, enjoy forgiveness and grace despite being unworthy. It’s wonderful to be reminded of the blessing we have in living in holiness, yet knowing that when we sin and confess, the grace and mercy of our heavenly Father is always available. ❤️

  2. lara-ann feldtman says:

    Reflecting on today’s reading; I’m reminded that confession is a gift from the Lord. When we sent and hide our sin; it festers like an infected wound. But bringing it before God- He takes it away, He forgives us in mercy, and He gifts us with freedom. Conviction of sin is truly a blessing, because if we went unaware of sin; we may be left in brokenness down the line. But conviction points us to the reality that God is at work. How amazing and merciful is our God! He is so worthy of our praise!

  3. Eileen Dowd says:

    Praying for your dear family and especially Leo. Thank you for asking for prayers.

  4. Claire B says:


  5. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would stand out in this world. I pray I would look different than the people around me. Sometimes I wonder if I have become too lukewarm. I want to be more on fire for Jesus.

  6. Cee Gee says:

    LYNN FROM ALABAMA – Me, again; sorry! I meant to say that Gina is in my prayers for peace, comfort, and wisdom in dealing with this scary diagnosis! Thanks for bringing it to us for prayer!