Posts Tagged ‘Christian service’

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:10

Israel had returned from Babylonian exile and the Lord elevated leaders to rebuild the Temple—Ezra was one of these leaders. Ezra was a scribe and priest; a descendant of the first high priest, Aaron. The Talmud records that Ezra had the entire Pentateuch memorized, he wrote 1st and 2nd Chronicles, Psalm 119, and that he was one of one hundred and twenty men who established, as led by the Holy Spirit, the canon of the Old Testament. An incredible man, but…

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:10

In the verse we see four distinct things that Ezra did in preparation for his service to the Lord: he prepared his heart, he delved into the Word of God, he determined himself obedient, and he did what he was told. Admirable and desirable traits for a believer we would say, but do we recognize God’s hand in Ezra’s function and discipline? We should, unless of course we desire to operate carnally. Consider the workings of Ezra’s faith and these Biblical complements

Preparing the Heart

Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear… Psalms 10:17

Bible Study

For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10b


…For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13


But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:26

I share these particular things this morning because they convict me. I often get so wrapped-up in what I do (willingly) for the Lord forgetting that without the Him, my efforts are futile—without the Lord I lack the capacity to bless Him.

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And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it. Exodus 25:8-9As we read about God’s plan to Moses for His Tabernacle, we will come to learn that the Tabernacle itself has three basic components: the courtyard, the holy place, and the Holy of Holies. In our examination of these parts and their accessories, we can see that they also illustrate three distinct levels that pertain to our life in and walk with Jesus Christ. It is vital to remember that at any level and as it relates to the typology, anyone in the Tabernacle is saved; i.e. a born-again believer.

Level 1

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8

This first level speaks to the person who is saved and is in the courtyard. We recall that the outer courtyard is where the brass altar for sacrifice and the brass laver for cleansing were—constant reminders. In the altar and the laver there is an understanding and receiving: Christ has died for our sins at the altar and there’s an assertion of faith at the laver in our baptism. It is not uncommon for those in the courtyard to aspire towards another level—the option of Christian service.

Level 2

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… 1 Peter 2:9

Level two is within the tent, a place with two compartments, the biggest portion of which was called the Holy Place. The Holy Place is the place of Christian works and the tools of the trade are contained within: the table of showbread, the lampstand, and the incense stand; each one representative of a kingdom building endeavor. In the bread we see His Word which we freely partake and distribute. In the lamp we are light that we might go forth and shine with divine intention. And as fragrant incense we may pray intercessorily as Christ Jesus does for us. In the observance of Christian service we may find ourselves longing for level three.

Level 3

“But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42

Jesus would say to us (as He said to Martha) that level three; that is at His feet, is the best and most highly desired place to be. We would agree. As we read the account of Mary and Martha we see all three levels represented there. Lazarus, Martha and Mary’s brother is not mentioned in the story and suggests he is in the courtyard—a good place to be, but clearly not the best place to be.

The illustration clearly shows Martha caught up in her level two position. Again, not a bad place to be–more rewarding that hanging out in the courtyard, but still not the best place to be. It is obvious to us all that Mary has acquired the best place—at the feet of Jesus, absorbed in just being in His presence—the Holy of Holies.

Finest Choice, But the Least Chosen

As a result of our flesh and the world’s influence I suppose, we falsely believe that as Christians we start at level one and work our way towards level two and then ultimately to level three. God would tell us we have it all backwards.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit…Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom….Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. John 19:30; Mark 15:38; Hebrews 4:16

There’s God’s formula—because of His Son’s finished work on the cross, we have direct access to the Holy of Holies and can boldly approach Him. It is from this position we are free to move about; between Christian service and courtyard respites. In the Father’s plan there is no striving towards higher levels—we start out at the best possible place—at the feet of Jesus. If we find ourselves involved in procedures and processes believing we can climb higher and higher spiritually, we need to stop. The highest position we can achieve has already been provided for us and all we need is enter into His presence. We are not level-ones working upward; we are level threes moving freely about the Tabernacle as He guides us.

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Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Genesis 39:1-5

W. J. W. D.

What do I do when I find myself in an adverse situation—do I lament, “This isn’t fair, ” or proclaim, “why has this happened to me?” Do I arrogantly declare, “My talent is being wasted, ” or do I swear vengeance against those who have wronged me? And what would I do if I were in Joseph’s sandals? If anyone had the right to gripe, Joseph certainly did, but instead chooses a superior course to follow and in so doing expresses what Jesus would do.

Christian Prosperity

A whole lot of churches are getting the wrong message about prosperity. If the Lord elects to bless a person with worldly wealth, so be it, but in so doing God is not declaring that this is what (godly) prosperity is or that we are all somehow entitled to it (wealth). Prosperity is characterized not by that we possess, but by an attitude we express. In Joseph we see a man who is blessed by what he has been given and not grieved over that which he does not have, demonstrating that in the pursuit of God’s righteous there is satisfaction.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

A Blessing to Others

I like that the Bible records that as a result of Joseph’s behavior and attitude, that the Lord blessed Potiphar’s house as well. My mind immediately goes to the work-place—can my boss say of me, “This is the best employee I have ever had—whatever he does is a blessing to me, ” or do I let my feelings get in the way of my performance? Wherever I find myself, are those around me somehow blessed because of my obedience to God? In emulating Joseph we imitate Christ Jesus—let our focus be on His promise and His provision for His honor, glory, and praise.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 10:31 & 1 Peter 4:11

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