Skip to main content

Wednesday Wanderings: September 17

Today, let’s take a buzz through Ezra. Why?

Why not?

Don’t think we’re going to be rebuilding the Holy City after the dominance of the Persian Empire?

You’re probably right.

Are there some principles here? I think there are a few and they bear on both spiritual and political issues of our day.

First, spiritually: do we take advantage of the freedom to worship that exists in our world right now? The Persians permitted a limited freedom of public worship, just as we Americans have at this point. Are we using it or avoiding it?

Second, politically: Persia had a policy of returning conquered people to their homelands. Why? Because it wasn’t worth the hassle to meddle in their lives by yanking folks all over the map. Guess what, governing folks? The more you meddle, the more difficult it is to govern. Take a page from Cyrus and let it go. As long as people pay their taxes, why stress about the minutiae of their lives? Let the people live.

Third, spiritually: adversity will come against your public expression of worship. When that occurs, appeal to the authorities who are responsible for safeguarding that freedom and retain your willingness to worship privately. Our inability to worship publicly should not hamper our private worship.

Fourth, politically: Cyrus acknowledges that he is king thanks to the “God of heaven.” Now, he may not have truly been a believer—and he may have praised the gods of many other nations—but the key idea is this: politically, do you understand that you are not the top of the universe? There is more to life than you, be it Deity or vox populii, and you would do well to remember that.

Fifth, spiritually: Ezra has a long streak on purity among the people, and one that is oft-misunderstood. Ezra seeks a worshiping people that are unified. In that day, religious purity and ethnic identity ran on the same tracks. On this side of the Cross (and even on that side, if you look back at the Law and inclusion rules) the only ethnicity that matters for unity is the Blood of Christ.

That’s what this all comes back to: are we looking to see the Kingdom of God? There are opportunities to be outposts of that Kingdom—take them and use them!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Book: The Gospel Call and True Conversion

A quick note: This book, The Gospel Call and True Conversion, is currently available on Kindle for $4.99. This is the second in a series of 3, and the first, The Gospel’s Power and Message, is available for $2.99.The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth. This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth. 2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will resu…

Sermon Recap for July 29 (and 22)

Good Morning!Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!July 29 AM: (Audio)
July 29 PM: (Audio)
July 22 AM: (Audio)July 22 PM: (Audio)