When our Faith is Broken
Day: 10 | Plan: Ezra and Nehemiah
Today's Reading: Ezra 10
Ezra 10:2 (ESV) "And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: 'We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.'"
All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again.
You probably recognize this popular children's nursery rhyme. As simple as it is, it holds a profound truth — when something breaks, it is tremendously difficult to mend. In Ezra 10, we continue the tragedy of events that took place in Ezra 9 as the people of God defy the law and commandments of God in marrying foreign women. These women were prone to turn their loyalty, worship and affections away from God and toward false gods.
(If you haven't, take a moment and read yesterday's teaching by my friend Karen!)
The people of God, who had returned from exile as a result of God's grace, repeat the very sins as their forefathers and in a very repetitive pattern find themselves broken.
Shecaniah and his family were among the firsts to return from exile (Ezra 2:7) which also means that some of them were likely among the firsts to engage in breaking God's law. Shecaniah felt the weight of the people's sin so greatly that he boldly states they have indeed "broken faith" with the Lord. (Ezra 10:2) It's interesting that Shecaniah's name is not mentioned among those who intermarried (Ezra 10:18-43) which tells us that he is speaking not personally but collectively. He steps out in faith when the people had broken faith to re-establish unity among the people and their God.
Unity among the people of God is such an important theme throughout Scripture and one that we should pay close attention to. When we break faith with God, it sets in motion deep brokenness that ultimately deepens the divide among humanity. This is absolutely contrary to God's desire. In John 17, Jesus prays for the unity of the people of God to reflect the unity among the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Paul implores the broken church in Corinth to be reunited under the kingship of Jesus. (1 Corinthians 12:14-26)
But how can this broken faith be put back together? Shecaniah continues to lead us down the road of restoration through a re-establishment and renewal of covenant relationship with the Lord. His words are powerful, "… but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this" (Ezra 10:2b). There was nothing new that needed to be added — simply a return to the Lord and His laws. The pattern of covenant renewal here is so important:
- Recognition and confession of sin (Ezra 10:2)
- Admission of guilt (Ezra 10:2)
- Covenant renewal (Ezra 10:3)
- Renewal is visibly witnessed through action (Ezra 10:4-5)
It's true some things when broken cannot be put back together. However, the Lord's pattern of behavior is characterized by grace and faithfulness. The culmination of God's grace and faithfulness is the atoning work of the Divine Son of God. Ezra and the Israelites in the absence of Jesus needed to return to the Law. Today, because of Jesus, the Law is written on the hearts of the children of God. (Hebrews 8:10) Jesus miraculously restores what human hands could never repair.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for doing what our feeble, human hands could never do. Thank You for Your pattern of responding to our sin with forgiveness. Help us to consider Your Word and to live as reflections of Your Son Jesus in all we do and say. In Jesus' name, Amen.
We can learn wise leadership and life lessons from Ezra. First, Ezra visibly mourns the impact of... Read More
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