A Few Thoughts on Ezra 3

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
They acted according to the revealed will of God. There was a true desire in the remnant that returned to do that which the Lord God had assented to and required; and they were not discouraged by the fewness of the number, nor did they endeavor to substitute something lower. They trusted in Him, and no one ever trusted in Him and was confounded. And I feel this is the great parallel between their case and ours. We have not to build the house, &c, but we—that which is pointed to by it—we have the church of the living God in a fearful state externally, and the truth of God is so overshadowed, that people are satisfied with anything—forms, vestments, incense.
The experience of my conscience and heart on the enormity of sin gets deepened as I meditate on the cross, and on Jesus as He lay in the tomb. Man makes light of it; makes pictures, &c. We are creatures of God, and it is a great thing to be an intelligent creature of the creation; but then there is the fact that Adam, the head of this creation, stepped aside; and It was a disaster which affected the whole race. And as I see the fall, the more I am full of praise at the wonderful work of God, so that I am taken out of the ruin of the first Adam, and put in the second Adam.
" Things that are revealed belong to us." If I step out of the line God has revealed, I am lost in my own weakness.
One thing we have got—we have not some of the gifts that they had at the beginning, manifestations of the Spirit and fresh revelations -but we have the word, and so far are like those in Ezra. All the mighty works had been done in Egypt. They had had the prophetic word in Babylon, now they could open their windows and pray towards Jerusalem. But they had liberty to return, many did not return, and they had the word there.
We have bowed to the truth of Jesus being the Christ, what has He set us to do? He has sent the Spirit down to be the Teacher and Comforter. And He is the One on whom we depend to be the Teacher; and the first thing we learn is to go to the word itself. And that, in the last days specially, we have to beware of false teachers, and look to the word through the Spirit.
We learn in Ezra that there was not the servile imitation of things, but the acting out of the principles. They set up the altar upon its bases. And what have we? The word and the Spirit, and our worship must be in spirit and in truth.
But the first thing must be life. Our Israel is the Israel of God. Our worship is just this, knowing One in whom Jehovah delighted without measure. He yielded Himself up, and the offering was accepted, and what has He set us to do? " Two or three gathered together in my name." As many as believed were baptized. And they that had been baptized into Christ, put on Christ. They are included in Christ as a new head. " We are of God. and the whole world lieth in wickedness."
I believe that peace is in believing. It is not a kind of happy feeling I rest upon. I may not be enjoying peace, and if I look at myself, I cannot always say, " I have peace.’ If we try to realize peace it is always in believing. You may say, " Oh I have peace with God." But if you try to realize it, it is in believing.
We are always brought, when we meet for worship, to realize that the One who lay in the tomb is the Man in the glory—the One who was miraculously born of the virgin, and grew up—-the Son of man. He bore the sins of all who shall believe in Him. And we have now on earth a miracle of love in those that are born of God, walking on earth, and not satisfied unless growing like Him. And the whole scripture shows, where there is life there is power. We get it exemplified here in Ezra.
We live in an age when, instead of worship in spirit and truth, man's will is mixed up with it. There is a kind of attempt to make God's-blessing flow in human channels. But we need, to bow, and to have a " Thus saith the Lord," for everything. Jerusalem alone was their place of worship, but what was the path for the remnant?
Now, it is to adhere to the word and the Spirit, and to take care not to nullify our own actions by substituting anything for the word. They could not arrange the temple, they picked out the bases of the altar, and clave to God's altar of burnt offering, and in the seventh month they got together in one place.
G.J.