Ezra 10:11 Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.”
Observation - What does it say?
A large crowd of Israelites gathered around Ezra as he was mourning their sin of intermarriage with the women of other nations. They mourned with him and encouraged Ezra to lead the people in dealing with this issue. After gathering all the Israelites together, Ezra confronted them of their sin and told them, "You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel's guilt." But he didn't stop there. He follows that statement with, "Now honor the LORD... and do his will."
Understanding - What does it mean?
It's not enough to merely recognize our sin or even to be mournful about it. We must change.
Day after day I read the Word of God and God is faithful to speak to me, encouraging me, breathing hope and faith into my heart, and often times revealing areas of my life that don't yet look like Jesus. When God reveals those areas, I think I can say truthfully that I am honest with myself and God about my shortcomings. I recognize them and have genuine desire to be different. But the real question is, "Am I actually changing?" Do I merely write something under Life Application, or do I actually apply it to my life?
Like James encourages us, "Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says!"
Carefully consider my ways... are there things God has revealed to me through scripture that I haven't been intentional about putting into practice? Do I look more like Jesus today than I did a year ago or even a month ago?
Lord, bring conviction to our hearts and bring about transformation in our lives. I don't just want us to recognize and mourn over our shortcomings. I want to see us change! To look more like Jesus! It's in moments like this that I am thankful for the promise of Phil 1:6 "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry in on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." As we make effort to do your will, we trust that you will move upon our hearts and continue to mold us into the image of your son. Thank you, God, for your faithfulness to finish in us what you start. Amen.