The Daily Word of Righteousness

The Work of Restoration, #17

For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, (Ezra 9:9,10)

The next thing Ezra did was to cast himself down before the Lord and confess the sin of Israel in marrying the Canaanites. Ezra placed himself among the people, accepting part of the blame as though he himself had sinned while he was confessing and repenting of this grievous transgression.

When one member of the Body of Christ sins, every other member suffers. When one member serves God we all are strengthened. The saints are the seamless robe of Christ. We are part of one another.

When we set our hearts to seek the Lord we discover God's people are practicing the ways of the world. They have become discouraged and have given up trying to become disciples and saints.

What do we do when we discover the Body of Christ has become a "valley of dry bones"? Can these bones live? Can the members of the Body of Christ come into unity and grow to maturity? Only God knows. But God's Word states that the Body of Christ shall be built up by the ministries until it attains the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. The Bride of the Lamb shall be without spot or wrinkle.

As God directs we are to prophesy to the scattered bones of the Lord's army. And, as God directs, we are to arise and build the Temple of God and the wall of the city of Jerusalem, to speak figuratively.

The bondages of this world must be driven out of the Body of Christ because without holiness no person ever shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:11-14).

When the Israelites saw the sincerity of Ezra's repentance and the great sorrow and dismay that had gripped his heart, they realized they had sinned against the Lord by intermarrying with the people of Canaan. They resolved to put away their Canaanite wives and to cease practicing the demon worship of Canaan.

One man—Ezra—caused national repentance. So it is today. Every believer who turns away from sin and becomes a sincere disciple of Christ affects the people near to him.

This is what Shechaniah said, speaking for the transgressors:

Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord [Ezra], and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. (Ezra 10:3)

When the Israelites understood the seriousness of their actions they repented. They determined to do what God had commanded in His Word. The reason people do not repent today is that they do not "tremble at the commandment" of God. They have been taught that they are not to fear God. They are not working out their salvation with fear and trembling, although that is what Christians are commanded to do.

To be continued.