Summary: Like Israel many congregations within the Body of Christ have failed to live in obedience and like Israel have had to undergo the effects of their failure and are in desperate need of revival.
Revive Thy Work O Lord Ezra 9:4-14
Introduction: Israel had been called to be a light to the world for God. Through continued disobedience the nation brought God’s judgment upon itself. Today the church has been given that task as God’s instrument to reflect His truth. But like Israel many congregations within the Body of Christ have failed to live in obedience and like Israel have had to undergo the effects of their failure and are in desperate need of revival. There are great lessons to learn from the experience of Israel.
I. The Result of Israel’s Sin
A. The Shekinah Presence of God was withdrawn
1. Shekinah Glory - the visible manifestation of God's presence and glory.
2. Ezekiel 10:18 “Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.”
3. Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden [His] face from you, So that He will not hear.”
4. 2 Corinthians 4:6 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
5. A lighthouse is not useful if the glass surrounding the light is dirty. The dirt blocks the light from giving off the pure stream the ships need to guide them. D.L. Moody once said, “A holy life will make the deepest impression.” Even so, God desires that the life of every Christian be a lighthouse, giving off the pure light of His Word to a lost world.
B. The House of God was devastated.
1. Isaiah 64:10-11 “Your holy cities have become a desert. Zion has become a desert. Jerusalem is a wasteland. Our holy and beautiful temple, where our ancestors praised you, has been burned to the ground. All that we valued has been ruined."
2. In 586 BC, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem destroying the city and burning the temple to the ground.
3. The temple was called beth Yahweh or beth Elohim, meaning “house of Jehovah” or “house of God”. It was the place where the people of Israel corporate met with God in worship. But sin brought judgment and devastation on Israel and devastated the house of God.
4. Sin, is not only personal but collective also and it not only affects the individual Christian but it devastates the church.
5. Sin in the church saps it of its spiritual power and holy influence in the community.
C. The People of God were dispersed.
1. Ezra 9:7 "Since the days of our fathers to this day we [have been] very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, [and] our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as [it is] this day.”
2. The dispersion and captivity of Judah began around 705 BC with Sennacherib of Assyria and was complete with the capture of King Zedekiah in 586 BC. They killed his sons and then put out his eyes and was led off in captivity to Babylon. Jerusalem was sieged, the Temple razed along with the walls of the city and all the houses. Everything thatl mattered to the Jews was destroyed or plundered. Judah became enslaved to the nations of the world around them.
3. Christians ensnared in sin are unproductive and do not bear fruit or glorify God.
4. The disunity wrought in the world by sin has been allowed to creep into the Church and leave its mark there. When the Church divides at any place, it is the result of sin, either on the part of those who leave it or those who thrust them out, or both. Christ cannot be divided, nor can His Body, the Church, remain divided save at the cost of weakness and failure. - copied
II. The Road to Revival
A. Isaiah 57:14-16 “And it will be said, "Build up, build up, prepare the way, Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people. For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would grow faint before Me, and the breath of those whom I have made.”
B. Repentance – We need to get rid of the obstacles in our lives as God’s people that are hindering us from truly having God’s blessing on our lives.