As I sit and read the Word, I am often reminded that again there is nothing new under the sun. What an encouragement to see that the Lord has given us His Word to remind us and strengthen us when the enemy comes back to attack again. How often we see and learn that the tactic has not changed, only the package.
The apostate church today stands to learn much from the Words of the Lord in Ezra 4. We have compromised holiness and purity by allowing a mixture and now many have found themselves working, not for God, but for the enemy himself. What has always been a strategy tool for Satan, has now become a tool for today’s church. Post-modernism/liberalism screams from the outside to be a part. “We worship the same God,” they cry. The church, using no discernment, (but hungry for numbers) welcomes and tolerates all in. Once in, the leaven begins to ruin the whole lump. Before too long you can hardly recognize truth, and the few who still stand for it are weeded out, and told to catch up with the times and be more loving. In my study time I was amazed to see that this was not the first time this tactic was used by the enemy. I was even more excited to see that during Ezra’s point in history, God’s people did not give in to the attack of the enemy and yoke with those who proclaimed to serve the “same” God. Of course that response was not at all warmly received.
Ezra 4- When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.” Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. They hired counselors to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Even in Ezra’s time, there were the many who proclaimed loudly that they worshipped the same God and deserved to be a part of what God was doing. What a blessing that God’s people knew enough to be exclusive when it came to yoking with just anyone to do God’s work. Even though in this day we have become the temple for the Living God, we are still commanded to be separate and use the same discernment and authority that the Jews in that day used, even when our enemies come railing against us. Sadly enough, many of the men in the church today take no stand. Instead they just hold the door open wide and invite all in to join. Don’t get me wrong, we are called to GO OUT and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and there is no exclusivity in that. All are welcome to repent and respond. But to worship and carry on God’s work, well that is exclusive. That is reserved only for those who have truly been changed by the work of the Lord. The fruit of that will be a surrendered life, one who has cast aside self and idols and instead is living a life of obedience to the Lord. Lest we think that these commands were only for the Old Testament, we need look no further than 2 Corinthians 6:14. The Lord commands us not to be yoked together with unbelievers (that includes those we have discerned to be false teachers and unrepentant brothers). As the people of Ezra’s day had learned, an unholy mixture could have dangerous consequenses. Will we learn from Israel’s history, or will we continue on the path of destruction? Will we awaken from our lumber and return to properly attending the Bride of Christ? Our only hope is repentance. Then the Lord will hear and forgive us and welcome us richly into the Kingdom He has prepared for us!
Stephanie Tyndall is a servant of Jesus Christ, writer for the Seeds Among the Soil Women's Ministry, and She Rises International.
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