An Appeal to the People of God
The ground upon which we stand is very much more positive at this present time than even the Old Testament saints enjoyed, for we look back to Calvary's triumphant accomplishment. Yet the Old Testament position and condition is also a true picture of our own time and condition spiritually; I am thinking in terms of books of the Bible and not of verses.
We want to see what the Books Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther have to say to us. I feel convinced that we are living in a time very truly represented by these books, and in that sense we are living in Bible times, so that these books are very up-to-date, and have their abiding meaning for our time.
I cannot think the Lord would merely have given us a set of books of history about things which happened hundreds of years ago with no real value for us. His Word says, "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our leaning" (Romans 15:4), so we see God meant them to say something to us.
The First Factor: Spiritual Captivity
Let us see what these books represent, and how they touch our times. There are common factors about them. Firstly, their one general historic background - the people of God in captivity in Chaldea resulting from a spiritual breakdown.
Without going into what Babylon and Chaldea may mean, we take it as a settled fact that, when God's testimony breaks down in His people, a state of spiritual captivity ensues, and they are spiritually outside of the place where the testimony of God has its place.
They were in an earth-order of things in regard to worship, outwardly ordered by men, but at the back of it all was the hand of satan as the god of this age - Babylon represents a great deal more on the positive side as to the dominion of a man-constituted religious order, or an earthly order of things, in the realm of worship governed by the god of this age through man - but in the midst of those conditions were those who still stood for the Lord and represented something that was not compromising with those conditions; they were dissatisfied and inwardly revolting against them.
(continued with # 2 - (Heart Burden)