Media outlets have begun their projections about the election outcome. All of us are seeing the red, blue and yellow USA maps highlighting Electoral College votes, as interest soars into which of the two top candidates will capture enough to win the election.
Certainly, every Christian should vote responsibly and prayerfully for the one they believe will uphold Biblical values and principles in our land, appoint constitutionalist Supreme Court justices, support God’s chosen people in Israel, and do the most good and the least evil through our government. Voting is a God-given privilege in this great land, and Christians should treasure and execute this privilege as “unto the Lord.”
However, the Christian mandate remains the same, regardless of who takes the magic “270.”
As the election drew closer, I heard more and more about this magic “270” number. Out of curiosity, I searched the Bible for a book that had 70 verses in chapter 2. I only found one – the book of Ezra.
Following my curiosity, I read Ezra chapters one through three, as I felt directed by the Lord to do so. I think of this type of curious searching similarly to how God called and spoke to Moses after Moses’ curiosity was aroused to look at the burning bush. I do believe God revealed something special to me through this, and I want to pass it along to you here.
Ezra 2:70 reads: “So the priests and the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the Nethinim, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.”
In verse 70 of chapter 2 of Ezra, the freed captives that returned from Babylon after Cyrus released them now were resettled in their cities in peace. In Chapter 1, we read of the decree from Cyrus and his blessing to provide for their journey and the task at hand. Then in chapter 2, we are told of the many former captives who now had come home to Israel.
What I found most interesting is BEYOND Chapter 2 verse 70. Ezra chapter 3 begins to get into the heart of the matter — the whole reason and purpose of the return from Babylon. This is what I believe God wanted me to focus on: the mission as revealed in Chapter 3.
As soon as they were resettled in their rightful land, now the task at hand – the mission – could begin in earnest. Their mission under Ezra’s leadership: restore the worship of Almighty God to the people of Israel. In doing so, this required two important things:
In God’s perfect timing, He sent Ezra and his convoy to awaken the people and bring needed restoration from the spiritual shambles that lay before them in their beloved land and among their beloved people. Ezra and his team of priests and godly leaders reignited the spiritual flames that had long before been extinguished. They preached the word of truth (see Nehemiah 8), restored unity to the people (see Ezra 3:1) and “rolled up their sleeves” to do the work before them: repairing the Altar of the Lord and laying the foundation of God’s Temple again in the beloved city of Jerusalem (see Ezra 3:2-11).
In Ezra chapter 3 and Nehemiah chapters 8 and 9, we see the great “revival” of that day. People repented of their sins, returned to the Lord and restored the worship of God to the land again.
Application for Us
Through considering all of this, it became apparent to me that this bears a significant application to the United States of America, and more specifically to the Church in America.
In many ways, Christians can look at the spiritual landscape of our great nation and see the “ruins” of our Christian heritage here. For decades, erosion has taken place within the Church and much of our Judeo-Christian foundations have been crumbling.
Had the Church of earlier days been alive and active at the time, these forces could have been thwarted and the heritage defended. However, much of the Church has been asleep and complacent. In doing so, evil has grown slowly but surely over time. Early on, it may have been in more subtle ways, taking one stab at a time against our foundation. But, of more recent days, we see blatant attacks. Perhaps these have become so blatant BECAUSE there was no consistent defending of the faith prior to now.
Regardless of the reasons, Christians today find themselves in a state where the USA is in spiritual shambles, similarly to the nation of Israel in Ezra’s day. I believe that the mandate for the Church in America is the same as it was for Ezra in his time.
The Church faces a mandate to enter the era of, and do the work of, Ezra chapter 3 here on our soil! Our great land needs an Ezra moment – restoration of our spiritual foundation and revival of godly worship. We need to repent of our own sins and preach the truth that will lead others to repentance as well. We need to rebuild our fallen Christian heritage and be willing to defend it, as continued reading in Ezra and Nehemiah will show they had to do as well.
All of this requires the same two things it required in Ezra chapter 3:
We should be repairing God’s altar. This includes showing people how Jesus Christ has died in their place as their substitute to pay the Torah’s demand of the innocent dying to atone for the guilty.
We should be teaching people God’s Word in truth, and helping them become true disciples of Jesus, who live in obedience to His Word and share in the blessings of such obedience.
We should be restoring worship of the King of all Kings to our land, celebrating His goodness and mercy to us.
So, the question on this Election Eve for the Church in America isn’t as much about the “Path TO 270” but rather, the “Path BEYOND 270!” Are you, beloved Christian, up for the challenge? Are you ready to move into the task before us in America, as Ezra and his people did in Ezra chapter 3? Will you arise to our Ezra 3 challenge? Will you travel the path BEYOND 270 with me?
May God grant us a great revival right here in America, as the people of Israel experienced in Ezra’s day! And may each of us put our hands to the tasks before us in the unity of the Spirit, serving our King!