O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.
Great sin brings separation from God. What a shift Adam and Eve must have felt at the moment of their transgression. Something significant changed within them when they lost that connection to God, and nothing would ever be quite the same again. Ezra sensed, in a way, this same disconnect when he realized the great sin that Israel had committed. He understood that we can’t stand before God when we’re drenched with sin, and we’re totally at His mercy.
The holiness of God makes our sin untouchable to Him. He can’t look upon it, and He cannot have fellowship with it. And so our sin separates us from Him. It creates a chasm, closes a curtain, erects a barrier between us and God. That’s why the Jews of the Old Testament had to make offerings for atonement. That’s why Jesus had to come and die and pay our penalty for us. That’s why we can’t have a relationship with God if there is sin getting in the way, and we need Jesus to reconnect us to Him.
But when we bow before Him with humility and repentance, God turns toward us. He looks again upon us with mercy and extends His hand to us. He lifts us up out of our shame and regret and restores us into fellowship with Him. He dries our tears and holds us close and reassures us that we’re forgiven. And God takes pleasure in those like Ezra who fear Him and are seeking to live pure and righteous lives before Him.
Any sin, great or small, causes division between us and our heavenly Father. Every transgression must be brought before Him. And when we’re trusting Christ as our Savior, we can find forgiveness and cleansing whenever we’ve gone astray. Let’s not allow anything to ruin our fellowship with the Lord. Let’s be quick to recognize whenever sin is prying us apart from Him and make sure we bring those things before the Lord and deal with them properly. And when we do that, our merciful God will draw us near to Him once again.