Ezra 10:1-2 1 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore. 2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.
Having recognized that human nature is much like that of a dog who returns to his vomit or the sow who returns to her wallowing in the mire, what is the proper response? Obviously, it's not to excuse our disobedience the word of God. Again, we didn't lose our human nature when we got saved, but God did give us a new nature – one that desires to please Him and obey Him and glorify Him by living in victory over the sins that once had us bound.
Ezra 10 follows up on Ezra 9 with this glorious truth: there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. What do you do when you find yourself slipping back into those old ways you left when you met Jesus? What do you do when confronted with the fact that you've returned to those old habits you thought you had conquered long ago? What do you when you realize you've stopped pursuing righteousness and iniquity is right on your heels (2 Timothy 2:22)?
Assuming that you don't excuse it, you don't give in to it, and you don't give up on fighting it, there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.
The first thing you need is someone to confront you about your sin. Ezra 10:10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
Do you have a preacher who is more concerned with pleasing God than he is with building a church and is faithful to the call of God on his life to call sin out for what it is? Then thank God for it. That means you still have hope in this battle called this Christian life. Are you surrounded by friends that care about doing right and living clean and are interested enough in pushing you that direction to point out when something's wrong in your life? Then thank God for it. Without that, you're without hope in your struggle against sin.
Having been confronted, the next thing you need is to make confession. Ezra 10:11 Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Take that thing to the Lord. Yes, He already knows about it, but He wants you to tell Him about it anyway. Yes, you're already forgiven. No, you're not going to hell. But you need to go to God and get that thing right. When the Lord's dealing with your heart about something, you need to take care of that thing immediately. Don't wait until you get home Sunday afternoon, go down to the altar and do business with God. Don't put it off until your goodnight prayer time, get before the Lord wherever you can and confess that thing to Him.
Then you need to come up with a strategy for getting that thing right. Ezra 10:11 and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. The process doesn't stop with confession. Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
What led me to where I am and how can I avoid it in the future? In what areas am I especially tempted, and how can I steer clear of those temptations? Who do I need to separate from? What do I need to cut out of my life? Make some definite decisions about what you can do to keep yourself from going back to the things that once had you in bondage, by the grace of God.
And the last thing you need is the courage to go forward. Ezra 10:4 Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it. Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Don't just confess your sin. Don't just come up with a way to fight that sin. Put the plan into action. Be of good courage, and do it. May God help us see that, though so easily beset by sin, there is hope of living in victory over it.