Conviction is a funny thing. There is a lot we could say about conviction today, but primary to this passage is the way that the Holy Spirit can use it to take us to places that we spiritually never thought we could get to. We tend to have a pretty low view of the things we can do for God. And if we were working under our own power, that view might be accurate, but we have another power in us. The Spirit is always working to take us deeper into relationship with God.
Israel has returned from exile. Under the leadership of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel they have rebuilt the temple, the wall, and the people. And now the people have gathered together and heard once again the law of the Lord. They grieve over their own sin and confess that to God. Under the conviction of their sin, they vow before God to hold up their end of the covenant God made with them. They will strive to be His people. But thats not all. They go even further. They vow to give more and serve more and be more generous than they ever were before as a nation. They will give more of their time and energy to God than they ever have.
This is the wonderful thing about conviction. It drives us into the hands of a loving Father. It shows us how shortsighted we have been and reveals how much we can do for God that we haven’t been doing or perhaps even thought ourselves incapable of doing. We get down on ourselves often. “I can’t pray well.” “I’ll never be able to read my Bible consistently.” “I can’t give to the church because I need that money.” These are all statements we make while assuming we can’t go spiritually deeper than we already are. My prayer is that the Spirit would convict each of us so that we trust him more. That we might give more, love more, and lead more people to Christ.