And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, (Ezra 9:10 KJV)
Ezra was speaking to a captive people. He had been astonished that day hearing transgressions of God’s chosen people. At the evening sacrifice, he spoke to God
And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. (Ezra 9:6 KJV)
There are times what I see in this world today does cause me to blush in shame, too. God’s word has been shown to us and we’ve treated it the same way it has been treated since Eve plucked the fruit in the Garden.
To disbelieve the sinfulness nature of man is to ignore what mankind has done, and is doing still.
Philosophers today write of man’s ability to produce good works without religion. Twice in the past year I’ve read articles written by professes philosophers extolling how far mankind has come, lifting up man’s ability to do good to all. To do so denies a central truth that we’ve experienced, was recognized early in the scriptures and repeated by Paul:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10 KJV)
That’s the message Jesus spoke when answering Pharisees.
But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:12-13 KJV)
Don’t make the mistake of thinking the Pharisees righteous, though.
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:13 KJV)
Which brings us back to Ezra 9:10. What do we say to God after all we’ve done? We could give thought to the people’s response to Ezra.
Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do. (Ezra 10:12 KJV)
They had been told to rid themselves of the sinful lifestyle that included unbelieving wives. No – we’re not advocating divorce. That is not what God has spoken for His people today. Christ’s message asked more.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)
Just a few chapters before, Jesus had told the young rich young man to sell his goods (Matthew 19:16-26). I believe it was because that hindered him from complying with the two commandments. What hinders us?