Monday, October 5, 2015

The First Wave

I just started reading the book of Ezra and the rebuilding of the temple. As I read each persons name and their family, and the importance that each person counted who came on board to support the work God had called Ezra to, I couldn’t help but stop and start counting each person God has called to support the work God has called me to do in South Sudan.

The whole assembly together was 42,360 people! And that’s just the first wave!

Within my “first wave” are 85 distinct individuals (adults & children!) who believed God has called them to participate financially in the ministry in South Sudan. 200+ others have committed to praying for the ministry.

As important as it was for the writer of Ezra to list each individual family, I think the idea of the “children of Israel…gathered together as one man to Jerusalem” a much more astounding number. They didn’t gather to one man (Ezra) nor as an assembly (many people) but AS one man.

We go out as a team as “one man”. Ezra wasn’t the man to be celebrated for what he did, nor the people celebrated for being willing to support Ezra and travel back to give of their finances and time, it was God who was celebrated, “[they] arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it…” in other words, they came together and they worshipped God as one. 

I find verse 6 the one that stuck out to me so boldly out of all the rest, “From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, although the foundation of the temple of the Lord had not been laid.

For those 85 people, they have started to offer their worship to the Lord before I’ve even left! Whether that means beginning their monthly commitments, sharing the amount they will begin when I leave, or giving a one-time gift, these all come before the foundation has started to be laid!

And to those who will participate in the second wave, I look forward to seeing whom God calls… to add to “the one” who goes out to serve the women and children of South Sudan. My faith departure date is in 105 days! These last one hundred and few days will include the second wave of people! Oh may He be worshipped as we come together as one!

“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: ‘For He is good. For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.’” –Ezra 3:11a

And in 105 days may we see the foundation laid (me leaving for South Sudan 100% supported) and respond alike, “Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” –Ezra 3:11b
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