I’m really trying to feed on God’s Word during this fast. I keep thinking of Jesus’ words to the devil (when Jesus himself was REALLY hungry after FORTY days of going without ANY food), “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (He was quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3.) So, I want to make sure that this is not just turning away from food, but also turning toward the Word.
So, this morning I was reading the book of Ezra (again). I was struck again by his deep agony over the sins of his people. In Ezra 9, after he hears news of the unfaithfulness of his people to God, a poignant picture is given of him at the evening sacrifice. “I rose…and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God and prayed…” Then, “too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens”, he pours out his heart to the Lord who has been so faithful to the nation of Israel, even in their wandering and disobedience and impurity.
Then in 10:1 it paints another poignant picture of this man of God “praying and confessing, WEEPING and throwing himself down before the house of God.” A few verses later it says, “While he was there, he ate no bread and drank no water because he continued to MOURN over the unfaithfulness of the exiles.”
I was gripped by this picture of Ezra, especially by the picture of him WEEPING over the sins of the people. And it hit me that we, today, in our society and churches, don’t WEEP very much over our own sin or the sin of those we love or the sin of our nation and world.
I’m convinced that revival comes to a church and to a land when people are heartbroken over their own deliberate sin and the sin of others all around them. When we WEEP over selfishness, pride, lack of love, materialism, anger, bitterness, and a self-focused lifestyle (just to mention a few), God responds in loving acceptance, cleansing us and using us for His glory.
As I prayed this morning, I felt the invitation of God on my own life to commit to WEEPING over sin. Maybe you’ll join me?
“Let my eyes overflow with tears night and day without ceasing for…my people.” (Jeremiah 14:17