The Book of Ezra in the Bible is all about God’s second chance to Israel. Idolatry, rebellion and disloyalty to the God of their fathers, brought Israel under God’s judgment. Exiled in a foreign land, Israel wakes up to God and yearns to please Him. Longing for their homeland, the exiles hung their harps on willow trees and grieved.
God looked down in mercy and a remnant of Israel secured the King’s permission to return to Jerusalem with Ezra the Scribe who was a man of zeal and an insatiable appetite for God’s laws and commands.
Coming back home, the remnant rebuild the Temple of God and look forward to revive their faith and grow as a Nation. Even as the Elders of Israel and Ezra struggle to complete rebuilding the Temple of God, facing severe opposition from their unhappy neighbors, several men of Israel marry heathen women and raise families, following the wicked example of King Solomon. These intermarriages were entirely forbidden by God and were the reason for God’s wrath and Israel’s downfall.
Getting word of the intermarriages among the remnant, Ezra mourns and grieves over the audacity of Israel in falling back into the same trap from which they were only just recovering. Ezra’s anguish stirs the people who assemble together to seek God and His favor.
Struggling with the pangs of sin, Israel finds hope and a chance for a fresh start from God. “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. Ezra 10:2
The remnant found this ray of hope, a second chance only by acknowledging their sin. They realized their unfaithfulness to God. Not stopping with that, the people made a covenant with God to take action and put away their foreign wives and the children they had through them. This was by no means an easy thing to do. By sending away their wives and children, the men had to draw the curtain on their own family. It meant loneliness, it meant grief and it meant a lot of suffering. But this was the only way out. To get back to God they had to get rid of sin and that meant pain and agony.
Regardless of the cost they had to pay, the remnant of Israel decided to do what the Law of God commanded and accept a second chance from God. Ezra led the people through with this reconciliation with God in three important steps. (Ezra 10:11)
•Confess sin and thank God for withholding punishment
•Do God’s will
•Separate yourself from foreign wives/sinful ways.
The Nation Israel managed to secure God’s favor and had a second chance only by following each of these important steps. You too can have another chance to live better by following these very same steps.
Have you turned your back on God and done things that shame Him? Do you struggle with secret sins that nag your heart? Are there people you have let down, deceived or abused?
No matter where you have failed, acknowledge it to God and decide to get rid of sin entirely. This will hurt. Jesus said,“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:29. No one can gouge out an eye without enduring pain. In the same way saying ‘no’ to sin can leave you sore for awhile. But it brings you into right standing with God, who can and is able to heal every scar sin leaves on your body, soul and mind.
God made it even easier for you to get a fresh start to life by sending His Son to take up the punishment you deserve for all your shortcomings and flaws. Jesus, sinless Himself died a sinner’s death so that whoever confesses sin and asks for forgiveness in His Name may get back to God.
No matter where you have fallen, no matter how awful your sin looks, God can still give you a new beginning and a fresh start. When you lay down your failures at the Cross of Christ, ask for forgiveness, cut yourself from any person, habit, thought or deed that separates you from God and decide to follow Christ’s example, you will surely find Him right beside you as a God of second chances and new beginnings.
To know more about finding peace with God please write to me through the contact form on the Bio page.
All Scripture references have been taken from the New International Version (NIV)
Here are a couple of kindle books for further reading.
Buy "The God of Second Chances: Finding Hope through the Prophets of Exile" by Ron Clark from the Amazon Store
Buy "The God of Second Chances: A True Life Story" by Kathy Ashdown from the Amazon Store