Ezra is an effective leader during a difficult time because he has readied his heart. What are some practical ways that we can lean into God and cultivate readiness in our hearts?
When you discover sin in the life of someone close to you, what is your reaction? How can you imitate the priesthood of Christ in those situations?
Although God has grace for us and Christ has redeemed us with his sacrifice, sin produces enduring consequences. How has this truth been evident in your life? How might this change the way you think about sin?
Have you ever put yourself at personal risk (financially, relationally, etc.) to further God’s kingdom? What risks do you think God may be leading you to take now? How can you prepare yourself to have the freedom to follow God’s leading?
After years of devotedly studying God’s Word, Ezra is humble and prepared to lead God’s people on a dangerous journey. Likewise, we must consider how we are preparing our hearts for difficult times.
When we do take risks for God, we must carefully examine our motives—are we testing God or trusting God?
When Ezra is faced with the devastating sin of God’s people, he owns their guilt and shame and goes to God in grief and repentance.
Ezra’s ownership of the Israelites’ sin is a picture of Christ. Jesus took on our sin in order to reconcile us to God. We cannot rely on our own abilities to solve the problem of sin; we can only seek God’s mercy.
Although the Israelites repent and make amends for their sin, the enduring consequences are serious and far-reaching.
We must be courageously dependent on God, living in such radical faith in him that we will look like fools if God is not faithful. This freedom to live out our faith at great personal risk will model God’s love to the world.