Ezra gets on his knees, stretches out his hands to heaven and confesses the sins of the people of Israel.
They have intermarried with the people of the land.
Ezra doesn’t just throw off a quick, “Forgive, Lord.”
He fasts. He tears his clothes.
He says that none of them can stand before God and that he is ashamed to lift his face.
But even in all that, Ezra feels free to come to God to ask for mercy and expects it.
God is the lifter of our heads. We come ashamed of our sin. He forgives and puts a finger under our chin and lifts our face to His.
When we receive that forgiveness, we get our face-to-face fellowship back.
We’re not always to be begging for mercy. We’re to receive it and walk in the light of His forgiveness and keep from sin so that we can keep our gaze on the beauty of the Lord.
Ezra does go a little too far, though. He thinks he knows that God will completely cut them off and consume them if they do it again.
It’s not true. God has chosen for Himself a people. They will be saved. God is patient and does not forsake or utterly consume.
There will always be a remnant. God knows how to preserve Himself a remnant.
God is still coming for the Jewish people. More Jews have come to Christ in the last twenty years than in the previous 2000. God is after His people’s hearts.
We Gentiles were invited in to make them jealous. He will have a people to Himself.
God will show mercy. God will rebuild His temple and His city. It will all be destroyed again because of the people’s rejection of Jesus, but He will not forsake or utterly consume.
He will be their God.