And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.
Great sin causes great sorrow. Ezra was devastated by the actions of the people. Here they were trying to rebuild something, to restore proper worship of God, to remove the reproach, to return home. And the people were going back to the same things that had brought God’s judgment before. Fresh off their exile, the people are falling back into a grievous sin, and Ezra just can’t believe it. Would they really risk all it took for them to get back to this place? Were they willing to sacrifice all that had been accomplished so far in the rebuilding process?
But surely we can relate to Ezra. Have we ever watched someone we cared about fall back into some habitual sin? Have we seen sin devastate the life of someone near and dear to us? Or perhaps we’ve committed our own great sin and mourned over that transgression ourselves. It is, indeed, a very serious thing to sin against our God. Especially after being redeemed by the blood of Christ, to turn back to sin is a very sorrowful thing.
Because there was certainly great sorrow on that dark day when Christ made His trek up Calvary. Surely all of creation mourned that day over the cost of sin that sent Jesus to die so we could live. Surely there was heartbreak in those who understood that the sinless Son of God was being killed for a bunch of sinners. And if there is no sorrow for sin, then there becomes acceptance of it. And how could we do that after all that Christ endured because of it?
What is our attitude toward sin? Does it grieve us like it did Ezra? Does it just devastate us to see the ruin it causes in people’s lives, the things it takes from us, and the dishonor it brings to God? Does it leave such a bitter taste within us because we understand that it cost God something to redeem us? Or is it something that we take too lightly, something we’ll tolerate in our lives? May we never get to a place where we become cold toward it and our hearts don’t break over the rampant sin within us or around us.