There is a cry for our generation to return to the Lord and rebuild His house. In this article and video we continue to draw parallels to the Church today through the story of Ezra and his zeal for the Lord. The previous article laid out the context of Ezra’s return to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon, emphasizing the importance of believers to align themselves to God’s plan and illustrating how similar the Church today is to God’s people in Ezra’s time. In this second part we will examine the impact of what Ezra saw on the ground on his return to Jerusalem, his response and what the Church can learn from this. Enjoy the video!
Returning to build
A number of decades after being taken captive by the king of Babylon, the people of God returned to Jerusalem. Only a handful return initially with Zerubbabel. Ezra spearheads the second return with a group of people. Going through potential hardship and danger he arrives in Jerusalem after four months of traveling. He finds out something devastating. Some of God’s people have gone back into idolatry by having relationships with foreign women. This is what caused them to be deported in the first place. Definitely not what Ezra was expecting to find! And so what is to be done?
Ezra is devastated and mourns before the Lord. He takes serious action to call the people to return to the Lord.
Ezra 9: 6-9 (HCSB)
My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward You, my God, because our iniquities are higher than our heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens. 7 Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today. 8 But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from Yahweh our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings, giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
In Ezra’s prayer we see the kind of people that the Lord is calling for in the Church today. He’s calling for people who recognize the true state of the Church and who will cry out and pray; who will intercede and who will mourn.
What can the Church learn from Ezra?
- Some men stand out in their loyalty to God. May you be one of those who stand out in this generation in their loyalty to God like Ezra.
- We need to have integrity knowledge and competence. It is imperative that we be attached to God’s word
- It is essential that we be sensitive to God, that we honour Him and that we become enemies of wickedness.
- The fear of the Lord can be cultivated in every human heart irrespective of what is going on around us.
- It is possible to remain faithful to God if we will do His will, and live in His Word and make that choice regardless of the state and values of our society.
- Every believer must have a great sense of personal responsibility. We are responsible for our generation. We are responsible to disciple the nations. We are responsible to live lives that will cause men to desire the God that we serve, not because we pretend that we are like them, but because they see in our lives a truth and an integrity that cannot be contradicted.
- There are ordinary pleasure-seeking men and there are men who are God’s men.
- Whether the problems are natural or spiritual the solution is spiritual. The solution is in prayer and fasting.