After getting settled in with the exiles in Jerusalem, Ezra begins to hear of problems plaguing the new settlement. The greatest of those problems is the intermarriage of Jews with the foreign men and women who live in the area. It probably seemed like no big deal to the people because everyone was doing it, but God saw it as rebellion and disobedience. Ezra tears his robe and pulls hair from his head and his beard in agony over the missteps of his fellow Jews. His prayer is one of repentance and acceptance of their past punishments due to their own horrible decisions. He asks for wisdom to deal with this issue and to help the people walk faithfully with their God. This is an important moment in the life of these people, because Ezra openly admitted that every problem they faced was a direct result of disobedience. He took corporate responsibility for the sins of his people and hoped they would turn from this wickedness to follow Yahweh. Have you taken full responsibility for your own mistakes and mess-ups? Our culture loves to blame everyone else for our problems, but in the end, we will face judgment for what we do. We cannot get lost in the "everyone else is doing it" mentality, because it will always lead us into sin and struggles in life. We must learn to stand with God, accept responsibility when we fail, and move on in our walk with Him.

Help me, Lord, to stop blaming others for the many mistakes that I have made. Help me to stand with You and take responsibility for the mistakes that I make in this life.