Vol. 1, No. 7 – 2016
You . . . get up! This matter is your responsibility (but we will help). Take courage, act, because no one else will! (Ezra 10:4 paraphrase)
There are those days in life where it is OK to take it easy; but there are days when you need to just get with it! There are days when you whine; but there are days when it is time for your action. There are days when you can relax in your praying; but there are more days when intense times of prayer are necessary, because you are expected to produce.
In Ezra 10, the people of Israel had blown it. They went about things in their own way, ignoring what God had said (because they did not want to agree with Him).
Ezra reports he was just flummoxed, so he did what most of us do; he went to God as a last effort. He laid on the ground in front of the Temple (house of God) and cried, exploring everything he could confess (10:1). Family values that God laid out were ignored; people did not care—they only wanted what they loved.
Seventeen priests, 10 assistants, and 86 laymen were guilty of abusing God’s standards in marriage. They were guilty of mixed marriages—25% of the offenders were leaders!
Shecaniah (whose name meant, Jehovah is a neighbor) came along to Ezra and told him to get off his rusty dusty. “Get up and make what is wrong, right!”
There are too often times when leaders need to hear those words of counsel. Leaders want to hide sometimes; and sometimes they just want to delegate their problems to someone else. The reason leaders occupy their positions is to do as they are expected to do. Shecaniah not only says to get up; he counsels Ezra to get up like an Energizer bunny—to keep on going, and going, and going!
Some might say, “Well that is fine for Ezra, but he was just one of those old time prophets; unique and not like us!” Surprise, there are multiple paradigms for our learning; here is only a sampling:
Abraham—Arise, take your beloved son . . . (Genesis 22:1-3)
Jacob—God said, arise and go to Bethel . . . (Genesis 35:1)
Joshua—Moses is dead, arise, go over Jordan (Joshua 1:2)
Samuel—Arise, anoint David, this is he . . . (1 Samuel 16:12)
Elijah—Arise, you get to Zarephath . . . (1 Kings 17:9)
Jonah—Arise, and go to Nineveh that great city . . . (Jonah 3:2)
The Prodigal Son—I will arise and go to my father . . . (Luke 15:18)
Jesus—Arise, and let us go from here . . . (John 14:31)
Is today a day you face the seemingly impossible task? Ezra displays our tendencies: hesitant, wavering, and uncertain. There are three encouraging words from Ezra 10:4—
We will be with you!—God brings companions to be beside you
Be of good courage!—God brings a cheer of courage in our moments of need
Do it!—God gives a charge; all the energy and assurance you need to act
If you think you are beaten, you definitely are
If you express that you do not care, you really do not
If you want to succeed, but think you cannot, you will not
God does not always use the brightest bulbs to illuminate His truths