When Ezra finally returned to Jerusalem with the ‘second wave’ of returning exiles with him, he soon found that all was not well in the beloved capital. Ezra 9:1-15 tells us that news came to him from the mouths of the officials of the people that many of the returned exiles had married people of the surrounding nations. This was no small thing to have happened, but was serious. God had forbidden His people from the outset of being ‘unequally yoked’ with those who were not His people, and this act of the returned exiles was a breach of that directive. The news shocked Ezra and drove him to express great grief, but it also led him to pray and confess the sin of His people to God, pleading with God for forgiveness. The prayer recorded in Ezra 9 is one of the great prayers of the Bible and clearly reminds us that while the world ‘winks’ at sin, God sees things far differently! We are all guilty before Him on many counts and need His mercy and forgiveness, which He gives to those who ask because of His Son, Jesus.