In ancient times, countries would conquer other countries and absorb them into their way of life. The conquering nation would set up their banners and flags to make it known that this territory now belongs to them and what they would do then is send people who would teach the culture to the newly conquered people to adopt into their way of life. The people would learn the history, learn the language, learn the customs, and how a citizen of that country lives so that the empire would be unified in all of its territories.
As Christians we must first realize that earth as it is right now is not our kingdom nor home. That we are actually citizens of another kingdom as Paul states in Philippians 3:20 and that heaven is actually invading earth to slowly remove the kingdom of darkness to establish the kingdom of light. When we think of invasion, we think of violent take over and oppression but the invasion that God is doing is to set captives free who do not know that they are captives to the ways of darkness that this world has been under. When Jesus came, heaven came and when He gave the Holy Spirit, He commissioned us the church to continue the work of liberation by expanding a culture/kingdom deeper into the darkness.
So we are therefore ambassadors where we in of ourselves must live, think, and feel in such a way where we reflect heavens culture that is revealed through God’s word. That we are to proclaim the message of God by also living out that message and making earth look more like heaven everyday and interact with people in such a way to build relationships so that people draw closer to the Lord daily.
Are we living as citizens and ambassadors of heaven or have we been converted into the ways of this world to only give up our heavenly citizenship?
Let us take heart to spread heavens culture today by living it out in accordance to God’s word.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
6 this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.
The reason Ezra has such favor with king Xerxes was because God was with him. Just like Joseph in the book of Genesis, when there is a person who is truly dedicated to God and His word, the favor of God to get things done for His glory increases. There is this sense of things just simply falling into place and that is a by product of someone who is willing to do the will of the Lord.
9 For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
Ezra wanted to do the will of the Lord and God’s favor was upon him but verse ten gives a specific reason for that favor. Ezra set his heart to study the word of God, to do it, and teach it to his fellow brothers and sisters. In other words, Ezra’s heart was to know God, to live like God, and teach others how to do the same. Ezra wanted to make the Israelite community to reflect heaven’s culture. This is very important because before the people of God can hope for the world to adopt heaven’s culture, the people of God must live in that culture! How can we expect others to live like Christ when we don’t live like Christ?!?!?
25 “And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. 26 Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.”
Ezra was given authority to appoint others to help lead this culture development in the people of God. To teach and develop a culture requires more than one or few people but requires a group of people to lead the way.
The church is more than an organization or a club but is a holy nation. We are in the world but we are not citizens of this world but that is a choice that we have to make. Are we going to be citizens that live in a heavenly culture that reflects who God is or are we going to be citizens that live a worldly culture that reflects the darkness of Satan. As extreme as that may seem and sound but this is true in that this world is influenced by Satan and it doesn’t mean we demonize people or organizations but realize that how we live our lives does impact the people around us and does have eternal outcomes. Let us be outposts of heaven and spread the kingdom culture of God.