"And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem" (Ezra 3:1,NKJV).
It was the Seventh Month, September by our reckoning, and the Israelites were still filled with the wonder of all that God had done to return them from Babylonian capitivity back to Jerusalem -- charged by the king of Persia himself to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. This was truly astounding in every way.
We are told that they assembled "as one man." The New Living Translation says, "all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose." This singluar moment not only harnessed the great potential of a vast assembly of focused indivifuals, but it unleashed a mighty revival in the city -- and ultimately in the nation.
As we read Ezra's account of what happened, three things stand out at the forefront of this historic move of God.
First, they rebuilt the altar, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians years ealier. This symbolizes "seeking first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness." The Altar is where we worship. It is where we experience God's presence, hear His voice, and find the power to do His will.
Second, they rekindled the fires of morning and evening offerings. This symbolizes prayer. They began their day, and ended it, in conversation with God. Obviously, the conversation lasted all day long. Did you know that God wants the same thing with you and me? He wants to walk with us, and talk with us as we move about the various affairs of our daily lives. He wants our lives to be ignited with the passion that comes from personal friendship with Him.
Third, they renewed their faithfulness to God's Word. This symbolizes obedience. They had long forsaken the ways of the Lord, but now were returned to true devotion and faithful allegiance. "You shall now the Truth," Jesus said, "and the Truth shall set you free." We can find the freedom Jesus gives by renewing our commitment to the Word of God -- seeking His face, hearing His voice, and doing His will.
This is the lesson we learn from Ezra's revival in ancient time; and it serves as a pattern and a promise for us today. They sought His face, heard His voice, and did His will -- and revival transformed their land. And it happend in September.
What will this September hold for you and me?