Principles of Revival: Ezra

Posted: February 19, 2009 by Josiah Batten in Bible Study, Deeper Life, Revival, The Church
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I was initially going to make this just one post focusing on Ezra 9-10, but I think truly addressing this may take several posts, the book of Ezra is rich, and I don’t want to just skim over it.

As background information, we are at the end of Judah’s 70 year exile.  I’m sure you all know what happened.  The people of God abandoned God, they pursued the world.  God’s people stopped behaving as God’s people.  In spite of their incredible blessings, perhaps even because of them, they followed the sinful desires of their own hearts.  False prophets flourished, idolatry prospered, the kings of Israel and Judah led the people in wickedness.

Their situation was not unlike what the American Church is facing today.  We truly are a blessed country.  More and more people in the  Church follow the sinful desires of their own hearts.  Churches and denominations are splitting because one half wants to compromise on homosexuality, the other half maintains a Biblical position.  False teachers certainly are flourishing.  We’ve got plenty of theological liberals on one side, and theological legalists on the other.  It’s Brian McLaren trying to turn the Church into a poetic art on one side, and Westboro Baptist trying to be as offensive as they can on the other.  The Church largely faces an identity crises.  Many of God’s people have stopped being God’s people.

What happens next?  The judgment.  God allows us to choose to reject Him.  But when we make that choice we must be prepared to deal with the consequences.  How will God judge His Church today?  I can’t specifically say.  But we do know this:  Jerusalem was ransacked and the Temple destroyed.  And this is where I want to pick up.

In Ezra 1 we see Cyrus moved by God to rebuild the Temple.  Let us all understand that today we are the Temple of God, we the Church are God’s house.  God does not live in temples made by human hands (Acts 7:48).  We are God’s temple (I Corinthians 3:16-17).  The Church is the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27).

The question we need to ask is what condition are we as a Body in?  I’m afraid that perhaps God’s judgment on us has been more subtle then in times past.  Isn’t a Church without power and conviction judgment enough?  Hasn’t it caused great enough decay to make us comparable to the Temple after the Babylonian invasion(s)?  As the Body of Christ are we in a state of rubble?

Obviously, my answer to these questions is yes.  We as the Body of Christ are in need of rebuilding.  God granted favor to Ezra and the people of Judah as they returned to Jerusalem and worked to rebuild His Temple.

But there are certain things that happened that we should find useful today, and as we move through Ezra’s book this will become more clear.  For now, let us do some soul searching, let us get on our knees and suck some rug, let God search our hearts as we discern whether, as His Temple, we are rubble or the Body we are called to be.

God bless!

Josiah

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