A Prophet Speaks

Posted: June 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

A Prophet Speaks

We hire consultants for just about everything imaginable. I’ve been reading A.W. Tozer’s greatest works and am just as convicted as he was by the need for communal repentance and spiritual renewal. So, I decided to hire a biblical consultant to assess our situation and culture. I chose Ezra from the Old Testament. He had much to say. Here is just a snippet:

Your heart is burdened. This is good. If you felt no burden, then I daresay you would know little of our Lord God Almighty. The difference between your 21st Century and my post-Exilic time is great. I could elaborate extensively on your many pitfalls and sins, but that would not accomplish much, especially since our pitfalls and sins were great as well. You must not waste time complaining and grumbling about how you wish things to be, rather, you must search the heart and mind of God for how to proclaim and declare Christ to your generation.

Speaking of Jesus Christ, I must say, your culture most certainly lacks proper reverence for God. Our God sent His one and only Son to die for you—your reverence should be greater than ours. And yet, it seems as though you’ve pillaged the grace of our God by tolerating and overlooking sin, and even by living unholy lives, believing this is acceptable to God. Yes, God’s Son paid your penalty—He paid our penalty. His grace and mercy and sacrifice set you free. But, it seems as though because of Christ’s sacrifice, sin no longer bothers you—keep in mind, when I say ‘you’ I am referring to yourself, your family, your friends, your community, your brothers and sisters in Christ. You are, after all, a part of the body of Christ. You are not your own any longer, you belong to Christ. Do you believe this?

Would it shock you if I were to tell you that you are responsible for the sins of your family, friends, community? And they were responsible for yours? Search our Word, you’ll find truth to this notion. So why do you live as if everyone’s life is their own business? Why are you all so segregated and demanding of your right to privacy? I see little divine familial fellowship in your time. Why do you demand to live privately from your brother and sister in Christ? Is it to uphold your reputation and hide your true self? Was it not Christ who said, ‘There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after killing of the body, has the power to throw you in to hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” You have no private life when it comes to the only One who matters.

It should be a privilege and a gift to live within a community of believers that will hold each other accountable to living holy and pure lives, worthy of the calling of Christ. Your demand for privacy is your license to sin, not to mention, you are much more susceptible to attacks by the evil one. Why do you allow it? Your sins are not only your own, we are responsible for the sins of our culture.

Let me tell you about what happened after the remnant of my people returned from our punishment in exile. About 80 years after the exiles returned to Jerusalem, I finally returned. Our God had given us many commands, of which we delighted in (why are you so burdened by the commands of our God?). Two of which dealt with our men intermarrying with foreign women and idolatry. In those times, I was appointed by God as a priest, scribe, and leader. Nothing brought me greater joy than to serve our God. Part of serving our God was serving our people. We were one before the Lord. God showed no partiality among us, we were all equal as one people, His people, under Him. We knew nothing of any sort of ‘right to privacy.’

Upon my return, I learned that our people had indeed committed the sins of intermarriage and idolatry. I was devastated, as were those who returned with me. Though I did not commit such a travesty against our God, I was still responsible to God and our people to repent. I wept bitterly before the Lord; I fell on my knees and was too ashamed and disgraced to even lift my face to our God. But God is so gracious, and we repented of our sins before our God. We repented as a community, as God’s people. There was no one innocent.

In this first consultation, I will offer this one practical step: repent on behalf of your people. Gather others who are just as burdened and repent, pray for insight into how to awaken your sleeping brothers and sisters. Pray that God would instill in you the reverence due His glorious Name. My consult is not to condemn, for we serve a gracious and compassionate God who delights in His creation. He delights in His people—you. He will forgive and send His Holy Spirit for a fresh awakening. But you must call upon Him, you must repent and turn back to Him. So much depends upon your obedience, reverence, and love for God.




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