The crucial point in the book of Nehemiah is the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem with its wall as a safeguard and protection for God’s house within the city; this typifies God’s recovery of His kingdom, which goes along with His recovery of His house.
Before Nehemiah, Ezra came, and during his time the temple was rebuilt. Furthermore, Ezra – a priestly scribe who was both filled with God and was skilled in the word of God – help reeducate the people of God so that their intrinsic constitution would be changed.
It is one thing to come out of Babylon and return to the proper ground in Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, and it is a different thing to have the Babylonian element removed and purged from our being. Ezra contacted the Lord continually, was filled with God’s heart’s desire, and spoke the word of God to His people.
In the recovery of the church today we need many like Ezra who are priestly teachers contacting God, saturated with God, filled with God, and one with God, those who are skilled in the word of God to minister the Triune God to His people.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17).
We as the men of God today need to breathe in the breathed out word of God by pray-reading the word of God to take it in as life, and we will be taught, convicted of our sins, corrected of our errors and mistakes, and instructed in righteousness, so that our living may be right with God and right with man.
We need to spend time with the Lord in His word every day so that we may be re-educated in God’s word with the divine and heavenly truths, and we will become part of God’s testimony.
As seen in Isa. 66:1-2, the heaven is God’s throne, the earth is His footstool, and He delights to dwell with men who are poor and contrite in spirit, those who receive His word.
By receiving the word of God into us day by day, by means of all prayer and petition, we are inwardly reconstituted with God, thus being educated and made God’s people, His testimony on earth.
The Babylonian element in us is removed by the reading of the word of God with the help of the ministry that opens up the word, with the result that we become the testimony that God desires to gain on earth, His church.
May we be those who cooperate with God’s recovery of His kingdom – which goes together with His recovery of His house.
Being Reconstituted to become a Divine Nation Expressing the Divine Character of God
In the time of Moses, the people of Israel were in Egypt for 400 years, so their constitution was Egyptian and their culture was Egyptian; therefore, before they could build the tabernacle of God and be God’s house, they had to be reconstituted.
Similarly, during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people of Israel were in captivity in Babylon for 70 years, and most of those who returned to Jerusalem were born in Babylon, having a Babylonian nature and constitution.
Nevertheless, they returned to be the testimony of God, and they started to build the temple as the house of God. Later, they were mixed with the Canaanite peoples around them.
How can a people who have a Babylonian and Canaanite constitution be God’s testimony, His expression? It is only by being reconstituted by being educated in the word of God.
Ezra was one who was qualified and prepared to be both a priest who contacts God and is filled with God, and a scribe who is skilled in God’s word, to re-educate the nation of Israel and thus help them to be inwardly reconstituted with God.
As a result of being reconstituted through the ministry of Ezra, Israel became a particular nation – a nation sanctified and separated unto God, a nation expressing God. They were transfused with the thought of God, they had the considerations of God, and they cared for what God cared; they were made into the testimony of God, even the reproduction of God on earth.
This is our need today. In our nature we have many elements of the world in which we live, and there are also many elements of religion, division, hypocrisy, confusion, mixture, and being halfway; all these are in us, and we need to be educated by being reconstituted with God.
We need to be in the word of God, be in the meetings of the church, and be in the training, so that we may be infused with the thought of God and His consideration, and become God’s reproduction.
When we are being inwardly reconstituted with God by being in His word, we become a divine nation that expresses the divine character (1 Pet. 2:9). As we are being inwardly reconstituted with God in His word, we are made personally and corporately to become God’s testimony, His reproduction, His expression on the earth.
Throughout the day there are many things that defile us, and simply by being in contact with the world and with people, our being is affected by corruption, mixture, division, lust, worldliness, and defilement.
We need to be under the speaking of God’s word and we need to regularly read the Bible with the exercise of our spirit so that we may be purified and reconstituted to become a divine nation expressing the divine character (1 Pet. 2:9).
Lord Jesus, we give ourselves to You to be reconstituted with You in Your word so that we may become a divine nation expressing the divine character! Thank You for choosing us to be Your holy nation, Your royal priesthood, Your people acquired for a possession, so that we may tell out the virtues of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Thank You for Your word which sanctifies us and saturates us with the thought of God and His considerations. Lord, transfuse Your thought, considerations, and all that You are into us to make us a divine nation expressing the divine character!
Seeing how God’s Recovery of His Kingdom goes Together with His Recovery of His House
Nehemiah came 10-1 years after Ezra; Ezra was a priestly scribe, well-educated and versed in the word of God, but Nehemiah was a commoner, not a ruler or a royal, but just a cupbearer to the king.
Nehemiah was a faithful servant, yet a common person, with a heart full of interest for God.
When Nehemiah heard the news of the city of Jerusalem being still in desolation, he was very concerned and even sad; the king then asked him, Why are you sad? Nehemiah then expressed his burden and took the initiative to be properly aggressive and go to help rebuild the city, for he was concerned for his country and city being desolate.
He realized that the city of God is very important, for God’s recovery of His kingdom goes hand in hand with God’s recovery of His house. The rebuilding of the house of God, the temple, typifies God’s recovery of the degraded church, and the rebuilding of the wall of the city of Jerusalem typifies God’s recovery of His kingdom; these two go together.
In Matt. 16:18-19, right after the Lord Jesus spoke of building His church, He said to Peter, To you I will give the keys of the kingdom…The church that Christ will build is the kingdom of God, and when God recovers the church, He also recovers the kingdom.
The church is for the kingdom, and the kingdom of God is the reality of the church. Every proper local church is the kingdom of God, and there’s the ruling and reigning of God in that church.
God desires to get a realm in which He can exercise His dominion to defeat His enemy (on the negative side) and have His rule and reign represented (on the positive side), for Him to be worshipped as God.
Today God is recovering both the house of God and the city of God, for God’s recovery of the church as the house of God goes along with God’s recovery of His kingdom. Eventually, the temple will no longer be there, for it will be enlarged to be the city, the holy city of New Jerusalem; for eternity God will have a kingdom, and the church will become the kingdom of God.
The city of God is the enlarged, strengthened, and built-up church as the ruling center for God’s reign in His kingdom. For us to be the house of God, His temple, we need to take Christ as our life and enjoy Him in His word day by day.
For us to be the city of God, His kingdom, for God’s recovery of His kingdom, we need to go further and realize His headship, and then the church will be enlarged to be the city, the kingdom of God (see Eph. 1:22-23; 4:15; Rev. 22:1).
We need to not only enjoy the Lord and eat Him in His word, but also realize His Headship and take Him as our Head, so that there would be God’s recovery of His kingdom in the church life today.
A day is coming when the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; this day is coming soon!
Today in the church life we want to usher in that kingdom quickly, hastening that day; we want experience both God’s recovery of the house of God and God’s recovery of His kingdom, practicing the church life as a miniature of the kingdom of God today.
Eventually, in God’s economy the house of God becomes the holy city, the New Jerusalem, as God’s eternal habitation and the ruling center of His eternal kingdom (see Rev. 21:2-3, 22; 22:3).
Lord Jesus, we want to cooperate with You for God’s recovery of the church as the house of God and as the kingdom of God. May Your kingdom come today in the church life. May the church today be in the reality of the kingdom, and may God have a realm in the church where He can rule and reign. Lord, we take You as our life, and we come to enjoy You in the word for the recovery of the church as the house of God. We take You as our Head, we worship You as God, and we place ourselves under Your authority so that the church as the house may be enlarged to be the city, the kingdom of God!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by James Lee for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Nehemiah, msgs. 1, 5 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Recovery of the Church (2017 fall ITERO), week 4, The Recovery of the Church as God’s House and God’s City as Portrayed in Ezra and Nehemiah.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Oh, purify us, Lord, by speaking in our heart; / Thy living, spoken word this washing will impart. / Increase Thy speaking, Lord, and cleanse our every part. / Oh, purify us, Lord, we pray. / Oh, purify us, Lord, today; / Wash all our natural life away. / Speak now Thy words in us, / And make us glorious. / O Lord, do speak in us today. (Hymns #1135)
# O Lord, against these days, / Inspire some for Your building, / Just as in David’s day— / A remnant who are willing / To come and work in Your house, / Oh, what a blessed charge! / Your heart’s desire, is our desire— / We come, O Lord, to build. (Hymns #1248)
# In fulness of the seasons / God’s Christ will head up all. / Then all will own His reigning / And worship, great and small. / Such reign in life and glory / The Church e’en now foretastes / And to His rule submitting / Unto His kingdom hastes. (Hymns #941)
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