Ezra 8:21-9:15, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Psalm 31:1-8, Proverbs 21:1-2
Today is August 9th, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it is wonderful. It is a treasure and to treat, and a joy and all kinds of really wonderful things, to be here with you today around the Global Campfire and what a joy it is to even have a Global Campfire to join each other around. And what a privilege it is, to come around this Global Campfire for the reason that we do, which is to take the next step forward in the Scriptures together. And so, let’s get to that, we are in the book of Ezra in the Old Testament and Paul’s letter known as first Corinthians in the new, and our next step for leads us back into Ezra today chapter 8 verse 21 through 9 verse 15.
Okay so, we have an interesting parallel between the old and new Testaments today. So, between Ezra and first Corinthians. So, Ezra makes his journey to Jerusalem. It’s a long journey that takes many months, they are protected along the way and everything is done on the up and up, with integrity and honor to God. Ezra has been given permission to make this journey, by the king of Persia and the king has generously offered the resources that would be necessary for the task. And so, the journey is made but when is Ezra arrives in Jerusalem, what he finds is that, the exiles are going back to what they were doing that ultimately undermined who they were and began mixing with the People’s nearby, which was leading them back toward idolatry. This undermined them in the first place. We have gone through the books of Samuel and the books of Kings and the book of Chronicles and we’ve seen this. And these are exiles who are returning to Jerusalem, they know better. They are betraying God and Ezra is devastated by what he sees and he mourns it, he is appalled by it, and for good reason. And so finally, the evening sacrifice, when it’s time for the evening sacrifice and Ezra gets up off the ground and prays, like he falls to his knees and lifts his hands to heaven and essentially says what…what can be said? Like, what can we say? The things that sent us into exile in the first place of the things we are doing, what can we say? Or just keeping it in Ezra’s words, “My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward You, my God, because our iniquities are higher than our heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens, our guilt has been terrible from the days of our ancestors until the present. Because of our iniquities, we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings and to the sword, captivity, plundering an open shame. As it is today, but now for a brief moment, grace has come from the Lord our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place.” Then he goes on to say, “what can we say in light of this, we have abandoned the commands You gave to your servants the prophets.” So, it is a devastating scene for Ezra and certainly a demoralizing scene for us to look at. And we can look at and go, what are you guys doing, you know the way, the way is clear before you. Why would you do something like this when you got back to the land?
Then, we flip the page into the New Testament, into first Corinthians and kind of zoom forward, many centuries and we have Paul, who is also appalled at what he is hearing that believers in the church, the body of Christ, are doing. And I quote from Paul, “it’s actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you and the kind of sexual immorality that is not even tolerated among the Gentiles. A man is sleeping with his father’s wife you are so arrogant. Shouldn’t you be filled with grief?” And then he goes on to say, “your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven, leavens the whole batch of dough?” And so, we are dealing with the same posture of heart. And so, what is the lesson that kind of bubbles forth from both of these stories today? It is that that mixture, intermingling, mixing with sin, in ways that we know are wrong, will destroy us. It was true before the time of Ezra, it was true during the time of Ezra, it was true during the first century and the emergence of the church of Jesus and the development of the New Testament. It is true today. If we are going to intermingle with what we know is wrong and we are going to find ourselves in a heaping steamy pile of deception. And from that heaping steaming pile, we are going to have to rationalize why it’s okay for us to do what we know is not okay to do. And as we well know, it’s not going to end anywhere good. Nothing good is going to come of it. And when we had the rationalize and justify ourselves in certain ways, than we establish our own normal, but we’re still heading in the wrong direction. And way this works in life, at least in my experience and my observation, we can go on a long time, feeling like we’re getting away with it, or that it’s okay, until destruction comes. It’s like we are complicit in deceiving ourselves. So, from a practical perspective, it’s easy enough for us to just simply take a step backward, maybe another one, maybe another one, may be a few, so that we began to get perspective on what it is were doing, what it is we’re thinking, how we’re rationalizing. And the thing is, everybody’s got their own stories. And so, whatever is bubbling up within our own hearts as we think about this right now, that's…that’s the first place to focus and begin to ask ourselves, what am I rationalizing? How am I justifying what I know isn’t right, what I know isn’t healthy for me? And we might rationalize or think about it and go well, I’m, I’m free. I have freedom in Christ and it’s true. We do have freedom. We even have the freedom to destroy ourselves but is that the goal? Because it seems like the goal would be utter and complete freedom, the kind of freedom that comes from having nothing false within us, which leads us to consider repenting, changing, changing our minds and going in a different direction. And so, may we spend some time giving this some consideration and allowing the Holy Spirit of God within us to well up and to begin to shine the light of truth into some of the dark recesses of our own hearts. If we really want to be free, then we need to consider jettisoning the things that would keep us in bondage and ultimately destroy us.
So, Holy Spirit, come into that, comfort us and rebuke us, reveal to us the places that we’re deceiving even ourselves, to our own detriment. Show us the ways that we are intermingling and mixing with what we know is not right. We ask that You would lead us into all truth, and we ask expectantly in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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And that’s it for today, I’m Brian, I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here, tomorrow.
Prayers and Encouragements will be posted later this evening.