The Daily Word of Righteousness

The Work of Restoration, #16

Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. (Daniel 4:37)

The assistance given by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes was ordered by God Himself. These kings knew they were obeying God. They realized that if they refused to obey the Lord God of Heaven their wealth and power would be removed from them and given to another who would obey the Lord (compare Daniel 4:37). These are not instances of the Church compromising with the world in order to gain status and wealth or to avoid persecution.

Thus God remains sovereign and the Church remains holy.

We give thanks when God opens political doors for us. We pray always for kings and all others who are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem: (Ezra 7:27)

Purifying the Church

One of the burdens of the Holy Spirit today can be seen in the ninth and tenth chapters of Ezra. It has to do with the separation of the Lord's people from the bondages of sin and the world.

It seems as soon as the kings of Persia had allowed a remnant of the Jews to return to Canaan they intermarried with the Canaanites, which the Lord had strictly forbidden them to do. They had not kept themselves separated as a holy nation unto the Lord.

Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. (Ezra 9:1,2)

So it is today. As we seek to return to the purity and power of the Word of the Lord we find the world has become so much a part of the churches that it is difficult to grasp how far we actually have fallen away from the Lord.

What do we do? Do we decide that the task of challenging the Lord's people to cleanse themselves from the filthiness of the world is too great an effort and will cause too many hardships? Or do we thoroughly repent no matter how great the cost and by the Lord's help cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit?

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

What did Ezra do?

And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. (Ezra 9:3)

Ezra, the priest, had been obeying the Lord's commandments and he had supposed that all the other Jews were just as consecrated as he.

But, as has been true throughout church history, when there is no vigorous leadership and example, when there is no word of righteousness blazing from the lips of God's apostles and prophets, the Lord's people will drift quickly into sin. God has appointed holy ministers in His Church because He understands that the sheep will stray unless there are diligent shepherds to keep them in line.

To be continued.