Friday, May 1, 2009

What Can We Say For Ourselves?

Scripture Passage: Ezra 9:10-15

I remember as a child when I would do something wrong, my father would usually begin the punishment phase with;
"Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"
Of course this was a rhetorical question since there was never an acceptable answer. At first, I actually tried to defend my actions, but no reason was ever good enough, and since the answer was usually 90% lies anyway, most often I just dug the hole a little deeper. With my dad, committing a misdeed and then following it up with a lie, virtually guaranteed that the severity of any punishment would increase greatly. I finally decided that by best response would be hanging my head in silence. There really is no way to justify doing something wrong anyway.

I think that last statement could be a good one sentence synopsis of today's passage. Ezra is praying to God and saying "Here we are Lord, all of us sinners with nothing to say for ourselves." He continues on to lament the behavior of his people and how they had ignored both the commands of God and the warnings of the prophets. I was particularly struck with the phrase that says that the "land had been polluted with the obscene vulgarities of the people who live there." I have to believe that Ezra would be shocked to see how present day society has sunk even lower in terms of its vulgarities.
We too, stand in front of God as sinners with nothing to say for ourselves. We as a people have allowed, supported, and sometimes even participated in the very obscenities that we are speaking of. The moral decline of our country is evidence enough of that. I truly believe that God has lifted His protective hand from our nation because we have defied Him in so many ways. Ezra even asked God " Are you angry to the point of wiping us out completely?" There is something to think about.
So what are we to do? Do we elect new leaders? That has never seemed to have worked out too well. Do we pass new laws? History has shown us that we just cannot legislate morality.
What then? I believe the only answer is to return our nation to the God who created it, and that will involve having each of us go back to obeying his commands and to stop twisting them to fit our own agendas. We need to heed the warnings of scripture rather than just skipping over the parts that make us nervous or angry. It is time to remove philosophy and individual viewpoints from our belief system and just concentrate on the truths set forth by God.
Now is the time to stand before God in prayer and supplication as Ezra did and proclaim "Look at us, openly standing here, guilty before you, with nothing to say for ourselves. No one can last long like this."
I'm so thankful that God ( at least up until now) has punished us less than we deserve. After all, there really is no way to justify doing something wrong, and we have nothing to say for ourselves.

1 comment:

Cynthia Wales said...

Excellent insights, Garry. May God have mercy on our nation and especially on us who call ourselves Christians. I have nothing to say for myself.

Under His mercy, Cindy