... how I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house to house ... - Acts 20:20
"And now for a little while grace has been shown from YAHWEH our God, to leave us a remnant to escape and give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.
For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem" Ezra 9:8-9.
It is marvellous to think that a prayer of Ezra's approximately 2,500 years ago is being answered today. These two verses of Scripture came up in our daily reading a few weeks ago [many of us read the Scriptures on a daily basis, following a plan which enables us to read the whole Bible in one year]. It seemed that we had not noticed the request for "a measure of revival", but suddenly it was there and God was speaking through these verses.
How we have longed for a measure of revival! We have reviewed previous 'revivals' that we have been involved in and have been praying for revival to come again, but happily saying to God, 'not like the past revivals' but the revival, a time "of refreshing" (Acts 3:19), which will usher us into the purpose of God in our time [the days we are living in].
The first thing we need and are totally dependent upon is the grace of God. We have experienced that grace since God first brought us to salvation in Jesus Christ (Eph.2:8), and the profound release of grace that we experienced as God brought us in to the "predestined adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself" (Eph.1:5). This has been "to the praise of the glory of His grace" (Eph.1:6). This began in a wonderful season in 2002, and in the ensuing years we ministered the grace of adoption (Rom.8:15, Gal.4:5) to many brethren in many nations.
The word of God refers to a 'remnant' and it is very important to recognise the promises concerning the remnant. Paul, quoting from Isaiah, says "though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved" (Rom.9:27). Paul identifies himself as being part of the remnant of Israelites being saved in Messiah Jesus (Rom.11:1). Paul then refers to the remnant of "seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal" (v.4) in the days of Elijah. Paul then says "at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (Rom.11:5). The remnant is as "His own special people" or "a peculiar people" KJV (1 Pet.2:9). The escape is into His Holy Place (Ezra 9:8).
Notice that the tent peg is in the Holy Place, not in the outer court. In the outer court we are subject to all kinds of doctrine and dogma that bind us, but when we are anchored in the Holy Place (Heb.6:19-20), we are immovable.
From the house of Judah, Yahweh promised there would come forth, the TENT PEG. Other Bible versions call Him "the wall peg", or "the nail". This is a prophetic promise of the coming of the Messiah Jesus for "He is before all things, and in him all things are held together" (Col. 1:17). Messiah Jesus is the Tent peg of His Church, His House, His Body, for "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:3).
O how indescribable the assurance and the comfort for them who are held together in Him; they shall never live in fear and nor make any haste, for "He is a sure foundation: he that believes firmly, shall not act hastily" (Isaiah 28:16).
The gates of hell will never, never prevail against the "Tent peg" (Matt.16:18).
O how paramount to always ensure our total trust and confidence is in Messiah Jesus, not on a mortal human being with whom there is shadow of turning. When other "tent pegs" fall off and result in great disappointments, and our expectations are dashed before our very eyes, there is always a heavenly call and a reminder that God has made that same Jesus, "whom you have crucified, both Lord and the Messiah" (Acts 2:36), the Tent Peg.
Paul prays that God would enlighten "the eyes of our understanding" (Eph.1:18). Jesus said that we need eye salve to anoint our eyes "that we may see" (Rev.3:18). God asked Jeremiah "What do you see?" (Jer.1:11&13). Jeremiah knew how to 'see' in the spirit. When Jesus broke bread with the disciples in Emmaus "then their eyes were opened and they knew Him" (Lu.24:31). To have our eyes enlightened is to receive revelation (Eph.1:17).
The King James Version translates "a measure of revival" as "a little reviving" (Ezra 9:8). What does a 'measure of revival' look like? What is a 'little reviving'? Do you realise that a little reviving from God is immense in our eyes? Many dream of a great revival coming in the land, whole cities turning to God! Some famous revivalist coming to preach! But what we need is a 'little reviving', a 'time of refreshing' (Acts 3:19),
• whereby God infiltrates our lives by His grace and we know that we are "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph.2:10).
• whereby God quickens in us a desire to seek Him, to experience His grace and His leading [to hear His voice], to know afresh the touch of His anointing which breaks the yoke of the oppressor (Isa.10:27), that enables the strongman of Satan to be bound (Matt.12:29), setting captives free to walk in their God-given destiny.
• and this is normal Christianity, a little reviving coming from God that enables us to walk the talk and live the life every day. As we receive a measure of revival, we experience God, we hear His voice and we have testimonies to share. This has been happening among us in amazing ways over recent weeks, and new doors have been opening for individuals and for the ministry of RMA, locally and world-wide.
'little' - SC Heb.#4592: simply means a little or few; NKJV translates the word as 'a measure'
'reviving' - SC Heb.#4241: means reviving, preservation of life, sustenance, i.e., the quick. This word 'quick' appears in the King James, but being an older English word, is not common in English today, but it is a powerful word. For example, KJV Hebrews 4:12 "the word of God is quick and powerful"; Romans 8:11 "the Spirit ... shall quicken your mortal bodies", and there are other amazing references in the KJV to the word 'quick' and 'quicken'. Translated in the NKJV as 'revival'.
"For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us" [in the context the people of God were in bondage to the kings of Persia] (Ezra 9:9a). In verse 8, Ezra referred to the grace God had shown and now he is referring to the mercy of God, to quicken us, even in our bondage, to do the work of God which is concerning the house of God. Hebrews 4:16 brings grace and mercy together in the very throne of God.
Ezra prays for a measure of revival, a little reviving to:
In our day, the church of Jesus Christ needs serious repairing. What is called the church is not actually built according to the pattern of Scripture. For the true church to emerge in our generation there needs to be a rooting out, a pulling down, a destruction and a throwing down, before there can be the building and the planting (Jer.1:10). Most of the church is following denominational [man-made] doctrines, dogmas and practices. Very few churches are built on the Biblical foundation (1Cor.3:11; Eph.2:20).
There needs to be the recognition and receiving of the five ministry gifts given by Christ in His ascension (Eph.4:7-8) and the five ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher must do "the work of the ministry" until the whole church comes "to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph.4:11-13). This is the repair, or the setting up, of the house of God.
We need more than pastors. Every part of the body needs to be relating to all the five fold ministers, so that the building process can go ahead.
Ruins speak of the building having been destroyed. It does not assume that the foundations have been destroyed, but the foundations need to be attended to, to bring the church firmly back to being set on the right foundation, "for no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1Cor.3:11). The main subject of all our preaching and teaching, is meant to be "Jesus the Christ" (Acts 5:42). Jesus said that He would build the church on the 'rock' of revelation of who He is (Matt.16:18). Peter had received the revelation that Jesus is "the Christ the Son of the Living God" (Matt.16:16).
The Scripture says that the household of God is to be built "on the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Eph.2:20). This is not a reference to Old Testament prophets, but a reference to New Testament prophets (Eph.3:5). Both apostles and prophets are absolutely necessary to bring the foundational revelation of the mystery of Christ to the saints, so that the church can be built according to the pattern and the saints can come to a mature understanding of the mystery (1Cor.2:6-8).
The writer to the Hebrews highlights a problem with immaturity that results from the foundational principles of the oracles of God not being laid properly (Hebrews 5:12-13). The saints were as babes as a result of the foundations not being laid. And yet all over the world, not only church members, but ministers are totally ignorant of the six foundational principles set out in Heb.6:1-2. We will not receive the permit to go on to maturity if the foundations are not in place.
We must rebuild the ruins of the house of God!
The Hebrew word for 'wall' is very interesting. It is translated as wall, hedge, fence; the word means a circumvallation [we had never heard of this word before], that is, surrounding something with a wall; making an enclosure, a safe place; protecting the town by building a wall.
God wants us to live within a wall of protection, which keeps the enemy out and gives us a safe place to live within. Nehemiah was commissioned to build the wall around the city of Jerusalem. It was a God given task and please read the book of Nehemiah afresh to catch a vision of the need to build this wall. We need to co-operate with God: He will give us a wall, but we are ones to build it, and we must not allow the enemy to infiltrate among our workers to hinder or halt the work.
God Himself laments the lack of a wall. He said "I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none" (Ezek.22:30).