Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Arise, for this matter belongeth unto thee; we also will be with thee. Be of good courage and do it. Ezra 10:4

A farmer friend of mine had two dogs: an old dog that knew how to herd the cows, and a young dog that was supposed to be in training. It was a treat to watch the old dog as he went into the big pasture and gathered the cows together, then headed them up the long lane leading to the milking barn. Not all the cows were willing to go, and the dog sometimes received a kick or two before his sharp teeth convinced the cow to join in the journey. Despite the kicks, the old dog successfully delivered the entire herd to the barn every time. The young dog could run faster and bark louder than the old dog, but when it came to dealing with the reluctant cows, he was a coward. One kick and he went howling to the fence, where he sat nursing his bruised ribs and wounded pride. The cows soon learned that he would give up quickly, and they often ignored him. The farmer sadly shook his head and declared, ‘No sand!’ Sometimes Christians are lacking in sand when it comes to tackling tough situations.

Ezra was not lacking in sand, but he facing a tough situation. A lot of mixed marriages had to be broken up in order to restore Israel to a right condition before the Lord. It wasn’t going to be easy. Shechaniah knew how tough it was going to be, how many hearts would be broken, how much anger would be stirred up, and how reluctant some of the offenders would be. So he encouraged Ezra to do what was right, and offered to help all he could. There are times when God sends along a Shechaniah to support and encourage us, because we will run into some tough situations. We will need some sand as we encounter sinful situations where somebody has to be called out, or as we run into stiff opposition even among Christians as we take a stand for morality, honesty, and faithfulness to the Word of God.

It’s often easier to turn a blind eye to some things around us, or to simply allow some people to go their erroneous ways. But we need to be faithful to those people, and do what we can to bring them back into God’s truth and into God’s purposes. It takes courage to face them, to remind them of their error, to plead with them to give up their sin, and to lead them back to the Lord. God will give us that courage. And He will also give us a Shechaniah to encourage us.

As we see the little foxes of apathy, carelessness, and lack of reverence for God creeping in among our Assemblies, may God grant us the sand to deal with these things according to His Word. -Jim MacIntosh

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