Ezra was a priest and post-exilic leader of the people of God. He was a major player in the restoration of the temple and God-ordained worship. Later in his ministry the following occurred:
Ezr 9:1 When these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
Ezr 9:2 For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed is mixed with the peoples of those lands. Indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this trespass.”
Ezr 9:3 So when I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked out some of the hair of my head and beard, and sat down astonished.
Ezr 9:4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away captive, and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice.
Ezr 9:5 At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God.
There are times when even the servants of God – as represented by priests and levites in the above – compromise with the people and fall into self-serving idolatry. In this case, it had to do with marrying pagan people. God had strictly forbidden this. And as Ezra pointed out later, it was foreign women that caused even the wise King Solomon to sin against the Lord and plunge the nation into failure.
At times like this, those who fear the Lord should be shocked and appalled. And the way this will be expressed is in fasting. When we fast we are saying that it is NOT business as usual.
Can you see the apostasy and idolatry that is gripping some of our Christian leaders today? The love of money, the love of personal luxury, the love of personal honor and influence, the compromises that exist to obtain these things, the people should cause us to weep and be appalled. It seems that the whole self-denying character of the gospel has been denied by many today. Jesus is being used as a means to an end.
Is it not time to fast like Ezra for the restoration of the remnant of God’s people?
There will be multitudes who consider themselves saved because their compromising leaders told them that there was nothing to fear, who will be eternally and irrevocably lost one day.
And if this doesn’t move you, weep for yourself. You need to get in touch with the heart of God.