Published by Deborah Negron M.A.
May 21, 2020 NY
Being Found in the Book
Ezra 1 and 2
The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, though they could not prove their fathers’ houses or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel: These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but they were not found there, and so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until there should be a priest to consult Urim and Thummim. Ezra 2:59, 62-63 ESV
They had been in exile. The prophecy had been given by the prophet Jeremiah. Just as it had been given.
Ezra 1:2 – 3,
“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord , the God of Israel— he is the God who is in Jerusalem.
Yet here in the midst of these joyful lines we read of this great sadness. The names of some of the priests had not been registered. Their names were not found in the records.
Imagine, waiting your whole life to be freed. Imagine waiting for a prophecy to be fulfilled and that day comes and you are excluded.
How sad that was for thses people.
They had been sure they too would be able to enter in. They too had been part of the people of God. They had anticipated receiving the same thing others would recieve.
Sadly mistaken, this will be the thing that many will experience on the day when the church of Christ is lifted up. Many who once participated in the church experience. They had sung the songs, helped in the service. Perhaps they paid their tithes and were generous with others. Some were always present in church. They may have even had some special talent. They may have even taught the word or taught Sunday school lessons. Perhaps they were the favorite worship leader. These who think some how they may be just fine in their walk may be as surprised as these people of Israel were.
You see, it is not by works that we are saved but by grace. It is not by some outward expression of service but by the inner convictions and drive of the heart.
Salvation is not for the boastful. It is not for the haughty. It is not for the ones who think they can treat others with disdain and then be accepted. Salvation is not for the ones who believe they are in some way above the rest.
The Bible tells us, that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.
The Bible tells us,
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.
Everything we do will be measured. The heart, the thoughts and our reasonings, our actions and our determinations will be examined.
Our whole duty in life is to please God. We were created for his glory. Yet he does not glory in our ill founded choices to dismiss one commandment and keep another.
God is a God of judgment. He is Sovereign over all. He will weigh men’s hearts. He knows the deepest part of us.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
So, It is high time we examine our own hearts. It is time to allow the Holy Spirit to uncover the issues that keep us from being who God wants us to be.
What does it matter if you and I have talents and abilities and for all that our names are not even found in the Book?
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37
Our prayer should be, Lord cleanse my heart. See if there is any hindrance in me. Change me and help me, for I am weak and undone. The the Lord will say of us,
“I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord , and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7
Then the Lord will say to us,
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Ezekiel 36:25-27
The Lord is merciful, his desire is to restore us. He longs to make us right before him. Yet if we hold bitterness, hatred, hurts, anger and pride within us we cannot enter in.
The Lord must mend us and remake us. We are unclean and undone. In to his presence can only come those whom He has made whole.
The way we become whole is to allow the Potter to remake and reshape and make us a new vessel. Our pride gone, our hearts made new and a new renewed mind will enable us to be worthy. Yet undone we will remain if we do not humble oursleves.
Perhaps there is bitterness in your heart. Perhaps you were hurt, misunderstood. Perhaps you feel somehow you are right to hold a grudge. The Lord will weigh our hearts. He will bring all things to light. Whatever we have held on to will be gone and we will be found wonting.
Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to assure us that our names are secure in that Book. Today is the moment to turn around and start over. There is still time.
There are too many of us holding on to tr he past and not letting go of issues that we hold on to.
WE CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST.
WE CANNOT GO BACK IN TIME.
Today we can start over. Christ is the one who can provide our restoration. He is the only kno who can mend our ways.
I heard a woman, who had gone through the abandonment of her mother as a child and the abuse and rejection of others, say, “God has made me come to forgive my mom.
I even feel sorry for her.”
The woman is well over fifty now. But her healing has allowed her to love an imperfect mom. She forgave her mom and now they have a new relationship as they both have found peace with the Lord.
A father who had walked away from his children received forgiveness from his daughter. This made him turn back to God. These things, I have witnessed with people I have known. I have seen families restored because of the humility they show one another.
This I have lived through. My mom was abandoned along with her siblings. Her father walked away from her mom. Yet she recalls how her mother taught her to respect and love her father even though he had been a foolish man. He did not raise her, nor did he even show her any affection. Yet as a married woman years later, my mom wrote letters to her father and shared the love of Christ with him. She even sent him photographs of her children singing and sharing family time. She forgave her dad.
How could this be? How could these people forgive their parents who had failed them in so many ways?
God is a restorer of relationships. He heals the wounded hearts. Look what God’s word tells us,
“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. He is the only one who can cause the wrongs in our lives to be made right. It matters not who did what or who did not do what. What matters is that our names are found in the Book.
Let’s read it here,
“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
1 John 4:20-21
God’s desire is that reconciliation would occur within families and within his Body, the Church of Jesus Christ. Reconciliation is the word that sums up the entire story of Redemption.
God sent his own Son to reconcile us to the Father. We cannot be one in Christ if we have strongholds of bitterness. If we take out the dirty laundry and expose one another’s faults.
God himself says he will remember our sins no more. In the book of Hebrews, the Lord says,
“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Instead of destroying us the Lord would rather heal us. The Lord is a God that loves to build up and not tear down. He loves to mend and not to break. He wants to restore and not to cast away.
I remember some time ago, I had been angry and hurt, afraid and even wanting the man that harmed me for so long to suffer. I was so blinded by my pain I did not even want to include him any longer in my prayers. I was married to a violent and explosive man. After 25 years of the rollercoaster of emotions and abuse I was finally able to leave him. Never wanting to see him again. But the Lord does not want us to hold bitterness. He does not want us to perish in our hatred. Nor does he leave us in that state of distress in our hearts.
The opportunity came to go an see him before he died. I was reluctant. I was rehearsing in my mind all the things he was guilty of. Then the Lord reminded me of the Cross. He reminded of his sacrifice for me. He reminded me of the great mercy, the God of the Universe had on my own life. How Jesus had died to set me free.
That day at Hospice, I recall, slowly, but surely, my hatred and fear, anger and sadness turned to forgiveness and mercy. The Lord changed my heart. I began to look at this man with eyes of grace. He looked so fragile and weak and broken. Yet he was repentant. He was sorry for all the things he had done against me. My heart was moved and the Lord allowed us to forgive one another. He died that week. But I saw the Lord transform a mean and angry man to a saint of God, before my very eyes.
I tell you this, so you can understand, I am not preaching at you. I too, have held on to hurts too long. I too, have made horrible mistakes. I too have grown to hate and despise other people. But the Lord’s mercy reached me. He changed my heart of stone, for one of flesh.
Forgiveness comes when we humble ourselves. Healing comes when we surrender our pain. Anger leaves when the Love of God comes in. We cannot serve two Masters.
Jesus is the Master of my life. He is the Lord of my life. He has rewritten my sad story. It is a new story of mercy. He longs to restore yours too.
There are two prerequisites to entering in, Jesus gave these,
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
So, the commandment to love one another is key. But we cannot love God if, we do not love our fellowman. This includes not just the stranger but those within a family we were born in to. When we are forgiven and then forgiveness is passed on to others in our lives we experience true freedom. True peace can be yours and mine. Reconciliation is God’s plan.
We can then become effective witnesses of His love. We can then be free from the past we could not change and have a future that is secure in Christ. Then the Lord will be pleased with us. He will sing over us with joy. He will enable us to have all the weight of sin and pain lifted off of us. Healing comes.
Even healing from trauma, from abuse, from rejection, from the weight of our own poor choices. We will experience a fullness of joy that Carrie’s us forward through each new trial and life situation. We will even have peace in the midst of life’s storms. Illness, loss, will not determine our spiritual health. We will be secure in the Lord regardless of the circumstances that may come. His Holy Spirit will be our guide and lead us to walk in true faith.
In the end I want to hear the Lord say,
“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
I want to have my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I want my sins blotted out, erased and not ever looked at again. I want the blood of Jesus to be the ink that crosses out every issue that hinders my faith. I want to be fully surrendered, every part of me.
Lord whatever hinders us, cause it to be brought to mind. Cause Repentance to be our attitude. Cause your Spirit to bring us the wherewithal to humble oursleves before you and seek you while there is still time. Salvation is for those who surrender and ask to be forgiven. Please Lord, draw us all to you I pray.
Lord, heal your people I pray. Assure them you have loved them and preferred Salvation over The Curse. In Jesus’s name.
Let our Names be Found in the Book.