Yesterday we noticed this verse: “And they (the Jews) set the altar upon his bases; FOR FEAR WAS UPON THEM BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE OF THOSE COUNTRIES: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.” Ezra 3:3
Remember? “The closer one lives to God (via the altar and sacrifice and worship) … the more protected that person might be (via the Hand of the Lord).” At least that was the principle I tried to annunciate yesterday. God was able (and willing) to guard the Jews … even though the “people” around them hated them and sought their destruction!
James 4:8 again comes to mind: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, and purify your hearts.”
But now today a slightly different view of the same verse, Ezra 3:3. (The Bible is often multi-dimensional in its implications, applications too.)
Let’s get started …
“And they set the altar upon his bases; FOR FEAR WAS UPON THEM BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE OF THOSE COUNTRIES: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.”
Why such fear?
Maybe because those “people” were so very wicked!
Maybe because that wickedness had before (prior to the Babylonian Captivity) infiltrated Israel and led to her dispersion throughout the world!
Maybe because Israel (more specifically here Judah) had learned during her 70 year “punishment” … to staunchly fear sin!
To stay “separated” from evil!
To “touch not” any unclean thing!
But then, what is the solution (the antidote) to compromising with such sin?
The altar of God! Blood-stained as it is!
Staying close to God!
Worshipping God (in spirit and in truth)!
“Wherewithal shall a young man CLEANSE his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” So says Psalm 119:9.
Or Psalm 119:11 even. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN against thee.” Worship God … fear (and refrain from) sin!
Knowing God, Who is first met at an altar (concerning which Calvary, Golgotha, the Cross, is the Supreme Altar) … and learning His (the Lord’s) Detestations … “These six things doth the LORD HATE: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19, if God so hates these abominations, we should therefore avoid them at all costs!
Building an altar … because of a (healthy) fear of the sins of the (either heathen or hypocritical) people of surrounding nations! THAT’S CERTAINLY A PROPER KIND OF FEAR IN WORSHIPPING GOD!
As I close today, back to our Text, Ezra 3:3 … “And they set the altar upon his bases; FOR FEAR WAS UPON THEM BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE OF THOSE COUNTRIES: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.”
Maybe all I’ve said today is …
FEAR GOD … AND YOU WILL CONSEQUENTLY FEAR SIN!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell