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Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Time In Which We Live # 7

"The Fourfold Ministry (continued)

Then Ezra takes up the testimony, and his concern is for the House of Go at Jerusalem, and Ezra, with the remnant, goes back and builds the House and sets up the Altar.

Nehemiah comes in finally - his concern is for the walls and gates of Jerusalem. He has respect for the marking off in a clear definition of what is all of God and what is not of God. He is zealous for the safe-guarding of the testimony of God; see his jealous watch over the Sabbath Day: "I contended ... and said... ye do ... profane the sabbath day ... I testified against them ... if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you" (Neh. 13:15-21). The Sabbath is that great testimony to the completeness of God's works. The walls speak of the mark where what is not of God ends; there is a distinct bounding, and beyond this, things are not of God, they have no place here, we shut them out. The walls represent no mixture, no over-lapping, and a clear definition. That is the message of Nehemiah.

God's Roll of Honor

Now we will turn to Ezra 8, and see what its value is to us.

We find a number of names are mentioned: the names of "them that went up with me from Babylon." Here you have a record of those who did absolutely separate themselves to go through with God; we have Holy Writ here, and it is as if the Holy Spirit is taking the pen and putting down the names of men who took responsibility in the testimony of God, and HE is setting down every name of the wholly devoted company who went right through with God; for the Holy Spirit would have made comment, if anyone had stopped on the way. No, these left the comparative ease and comforts of Babylon for a long and difficult journey, fraught with many dangers, and came back to a ruined city.

There is hard work, a certain amount of suffering, opposition, and so on, but they are willing to pay the cost and go through; and these are the ones whose names are severally recorded with such care, and their names will stand as long as the Bible stands; they are "Called, chosen, and faithful" wholly for God, whatever the cost.

it is fine that God should put down every name of these men who are going through. Are we going through with God? Or are we counting the cost and drawing out?

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8)

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