March 14, 2021 Ezra 1-4
The beginning of Ezra is like the beginning of a great comeback story. The people of Israel had such a historic and bright past. They were led valiantly by King David and God promised them a kingdom that would last forever. Then we get to all the Kings in the book of Chronicles and the Kings were mostly wicked. God punishes Israel by sending them into captivity. But...
But God made a promise to his people. He promised to send the seed of the woman to defeat the seed of the serpent. So here in Ezra we see what looks like the comeback. The exiled Israelites begin to come back to the promised land to rebuild the temple where their God dwelt with them. I want to focus on a description used in chapter 4. This description was used to describe Israel as they were beginning to rebuild the temple.
The people called Israel rebellious, hurtful, and seditious. My question for us is this. Is it true that the church is rebellious and seditious? I think we need to be specific in how we talk about this because I think the answer can be yes and no.
1) First the no. The people of God are not a rebellious or seditious people. The born again people of God are a holy people. We are to read God's law and obey it. We are to love God and love everyone else according to his Word. Our goal in this world is not to be constantly fighting for our own and fighting against the servants God has put in charge over us. Now we are called to defy tyrants. Tyrants misuse the power that God has given to them. We are the meek ones. Not the weak ones but the meek ones. To be meek means to be powerful but under control. Wild Mustangs are meeked. They are strong and independent but when they are domesticated they go through a process of being made meek. This is the picture of God's people.
2) How about the yes? Are God's people rebellious and seditious. Absolutely. The people of God will rebel against the evil one and his principalities. We are not to go along with evil. We are to be holy. We are to fight wickedness. We are to rebel against it. Seditious is just an adjective of sedition. Think mutiny, think treason. The people of God will never ally theirselves with evil. Our Lord and master is King Jesus. We are a seditious people to anyone who does not bow to King Jesus.
So I found it interesting that the people reported to the King that the people of Israel were rebellious and seditious. This is ultimately why the Church is persecuted around the world. Pastors in China are put in "reeducation" camps because they will not submit to the CCP. Pastor James Coates in sitting in a jail cell in Canada because he refuses to stop preaching the Word that King Jesus has called him to preach. Our allegiance is to King Jesus. This means that we will live and say and do the things that our King has called us to do. This means we are going to seem rebellious to the world. We will never rebel against our King.