Just One Man and God – Standing Firm when I Feel Completely Alone – 2 Corinthians chp 6

Just added, a new message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie from 2 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 1 to 3:

 

2 Corinthians chp 6 vs 1 to 3 – Just One Man and God – Standing Firm when I Feel Completely Alone – JS Gillespie – 29082017

 

Beyond the Veil – Veiled Glimpses of Christ – Isaac – 2 Corinthians chp 3 vs 16 – – JS Gillespie

Just added, a new message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie, in our series on 2 Corinthians:

 

2 Corinthians chp 3 vs 16 – Beyond the Veil – Veiled Glimpses of Christ – Isaac – JS Gillespie – 04042017

 

other messages from 2 Corinthians >>

Jesus Greatest Miracle – John chp 3 verse 14 – JS Gillespie

Just added, a new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie from John chapter 3 and Numbers chapter 21:

 

John chp 3 vs 14 – Jesus Greatest Miracle – JS Gillespie – 19062016

 

In the Shadow of Sinai – 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verses 7 to 10

Just added to our 1 Corinthians section; a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 10:

 

1 Corinthians chp 10 vs 7 to 10 – In the Shadow of Sinai – JS Gillespie – 02062015

 

outline notes available from this message:

 

In the shadow of Sinai in Sight of the Promised Land

We noted that parallels were drawn between:

  1. Israel
  2. Corinthians
  3. Ultimately ourselves

Parallels with:

  1. Assumptions made – run the old life and the new life together
  2. Blessings enjoyed
  • Led – under the cloud
  • Fed – manna and spiritual meat and the water and spiritual drink

The source of that sustenance is Christ

Natural provision but by supernatural means

Sometimes it is easy to identify supernatural provision by supernatural means but this is natural provision by supernatural means

  • Dead – through the sea

This turned out to be the largest baptismal tank in history.

  1. Confusion between external and the internal
  2. Deception

Here was a 4 fold deception

People once led by God were deceived over the most fundamental / basic of moral and spiritual issues:

  • Idols
  • Sexual morality

We have seen it in our own day – churches divided, not over subtleties of doctrine but professing Christians utterly adrift, rudderless on an ocean of confusion over the most basic of human relationships which God has ordered and imprinted in the biology, physiology and anatomy of the human frame and with that confusion a pride, that our day and age is so much more enlightened than that of our forefathers, not because we have reached the goals set out by them but because we have confounded ourself into a state of disbelief; there is no destination to reach, nowhere to go, no standards to uphold, no absolutes, no judge and no goal, and so just enjoy the drift!

4 fold deception:

  1. 10:7 – Losing the Cloud – End of being Led
  2. 10:8 – Losing Purity – End of being Dead
  3. 10:9 – Losing the Manna – End of Being Fed
  4. 10:10 – Denying our Identity
  1. 10:7 – Losing the Cloud – End of being Led

1 Corinthians 10: refers back to Exodus 32:1ff

Within sight of Sinai!!

Saddest of settings

Moses up the mountain

Deceived by an idol

Production of the golden calf – Baal worship

First introduction of the nation to idolatry

When we speak about idolatry what do we mean?

In Exodus 32 it is not a vague / general phenomenon but really quite focused and specific

Arguably it is the first time idolatry features in the nations history.

Idolatry has a specific goal – not just the general presence of idols in the nation.

Idolatry is not simply the verbal ascription of praise to idols.

Idolatry is not just the presence of ceremonies around idols.

In Exodus 32 idolatry is not simply a general social or religious phenomenon

  • Idolatry is focused

  • Idolatry is specific

  • Idolatry is directed

Idolatry is not the A Bomb of Hiroshima / Nagasaki which indiscriminately destroys everything in the vicinity but rather it is more akin to the the dam buster bomb of Sir Barnes Wallis:

  • operation chastise

  • 16th to 17th May 1943

  • Rohr valley

  • Destroyed hydroelectric power stations, factories and mines

  • 1600 people drowned

Idolatry had a very specific target

A target which when hit would adversely affect the well being of the peopl of God with global consequences

This was a blow to the nation and a disaster for Israel.

  • Exodus 32:1 : ‘make us gods which shall go before us’

  • Exodus 32:1 : ‘Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt’

  • Exodus 32:4 : ‘These be thy gods O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt’

  • Exodus 32:8 : ‘These be thy gods O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt’

It was not Moses nor the golden calf which had brought them up out of Egypt:

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud” (Exodus 13:21)

This is a specific attack on the cloud and on Divine guidance.

This is the end of being led

Knock out their guidance and everything else follows; they are left lost, wandering, dazed and aimless in the wilderness; doomed for an eternity of being lost in the wilderness.

Idolatry exists when we take our guidance from a source other than the Lord!

  1. 10:8 – Losing Purity – End of being Dead

A reference here to Numbers 25

An attack on their sanctification

Numbers 25 forms a backdrop to 1 Corinthians chps 5 to 10:

  • Numbers 25:1 – Moral Compromise

  • Numbers 25:2 – Meat offered to idols

  • Numbers 25:2,3 – Idols temple / worship

  • Numbers 25:9 – Death and judgement

Notice the geographical setting here in Numbers 25 – Shittim (25:1)

This is the place where Joshua in Joshua chp 3 will prepare to pass over the Jordan and into the promised land.

In Numbers 25 they are in sight of the promised land

Maybe they feel they are getting nowhere slowly, wandering and that a bit aimlessly, maybe losing heart and perhaps vulnerable in a state of despair??

Ironically they don’t know just how close they are to Gods blessings for them.

So close, they could have spat on it, and they did.

They messed up big time!

How close have we been at times to Gods blessings, only to deny ourselves through sin and failure and unfaithfulness, inches from the promised land??

If Exodus 32 is on shadow of Sinai then Numbers 25 is in sight of the promised land

So close to the goal and yet at the last moment distracted and failed.

Here on the banks of the Jordan is a denial of their Red Sea Baptism.

The failure is moral – a denial of their baptism – dead to sin (Romans 6:1-4)

Numbers 25:1 – what society calls progress God calls prostitution

  1. 10:9 – Losing the Manna – End of Being Fed

Numbers 21:4ff

An end of being fed?

Numbers 21:5our soul loatheth this light bread

It wasn’t as they initially claimed (that they had no bread, Num 21:5) but rather they didn’t much care for the bread they did have!

When they stopped feeding on Christ, Satan started to feed on them.

We can easily become distracted from feeding on Christ

  1. 10:10 – Denying our Identity

Led, Fed and Dead – 1 Corinthians chp 10

 

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians:

 

1 Corinthians chp 10 vs 1 to 2 – Led Fed and Dead – JS Gillespie – 19052015

 

Outline notes from this message:

 

3 features of those ancient Israelites are presented in the opening verses of chapter 10:

  1. Led (10:1)
  2. Fed (10:3-4)
  3. Dead (10:2)

How does this fit into 1 Corinthians?

On the surface it is a chapter about the Israelites, that ancient people of the books of Moses, in particular of their experience in the books of Exodus and Numbers.

What does this have to do with Corinth?

We don’t need to Wonder for too long the purpose of recounting this events – we are told in 1Co 10:6; “these things were our examples..” : ‘tupos‘ : type, something caused by strokes or blows

The purpose of that type is given; “we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.”

It is a type of spiritual failure.

But not only that, not only the WHAT of spiritual failure; “we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted” and the 4 X failure in verses 7 to 10

But also:

The WHY of spiritual failure; why their failure was so great and so significant.

What is an evil thing?

Anything contrary to Christ.

What are the connections between the experiences of the Corinthians and the Israelites?

For a parallel / parable to be drawn there must be points of similarity / connections that can be made.

In both circumstances there was:

  • The enjoyment of collective / communal blessing

but:

  • The experience of individual rejection and failure

The apostle will draw a contrast between the:

  • all” – verses 1,2,3 & 4
  • many” – verse 5

Both Israel and the Corinthians took refuge in the experience and blessing of communal experiences and activities.

Collectively they were:

 

  1. Led (verse 1)
  2. Fed (verses 3 to 4)
  3. Dead – Baptised

They took great comfort and solace in being part of a church where something was happening.

They drew great reassurance from their blessings of:

  • Baptism
  • Communion
  • Ministry
  • Word from the Lord

Like Israel however in Exodus and Numbers they thought that they could live / lead a double life.

They though that they could have the best of both worlds.

They thought that they could:

  • Run with the hares and hunt with the hounds
  • Best of both worlds
  • Take refuge in the blessings of the Spirit (10:1-5) but all the time pursue the lusts of the flesh (10:6)

They seemed to have placed great weight on the fact that they were:

  • Baptised (10:2)
  • Broke bread / took communion (10:3-5; 10:16ff)

Yet they continued in the old life and pursued the old lusts

Did that not get them the best of both worlds?

No it short changed them for both

They hadn’t gained both

They lost both!

Points of parallel:

  1. Assumptions that they made – that you could have the best of both worlds.
  2. Blessings they enjoyed: Led, Fed and Dead.
  3. Confusion of external blessing and internal reality

The distinction between what is given to me and what I am.

They reasoned that because they were:

  • Baptised
  • Breaking bread
  • Enjoying God speak

That all was well, that they had the Christian thing in the bag, done and dusted.

  1. Deceptions that robbed them

A 4 fold deception

It may just have seemed a bit of fun to them, a victimless crime but each deception would rob them of each of their blessings in Christ:

  • v7 – of being Led by Christ
  • v8 – of being Dead to Sin
  • v9 – of being Fed from heaven
  • v10 – of being identified with Moses

The blessings they enjoyed:

  1. Led
  2. Fed
  3. Dead

They were:

  1. Led:

under the cloud” (v1)

Under the cloud – that surely is a bad place to be?

  1. It was for the old world that perished under the flood – clouds of Destruction / judgement
  2. It was the Egyptian army pursuing the people of Israel (Ex 14:20-25) – clouds of Death
  3. It was at Sinai (Exodus 24:15,16; Deut 4:11) – clouds of Dread.

Yet for the believer the cloud is:

  1. The Place of Gods Promises (Gen 9:13,14,16) – the first mention of the cloud in the scriptures, and in it is a rainbow of Divine promises
  2. The Place of Gods Provision in Guidance (Exodus 13:21; 14:19-24; Ex 40:36-37; Ps 78:14; Ps 99:7) – God goes before them in the cloud by day
  3. The Place of Gods Presence (Exodus 16:10; 19:9; 24:16; 33:9; 34:5; 40:34,35; Lev 16:2; Num 11:25; Deut 31:15; 1 Kings 8:11; Neh 9:12) – In the cloud the, “Glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud”

The people of Israel are in a sense “under the cloud”

It is so often “under the cloud” that we find the PRESENCE of the Lord!

  • Jonathan Aitken 1999 – 18 months for perjury, yet in those experiences he wrote:

Pride and Perjury an Autobiography

Psalms for People under Pressure

Prayers for People under Pressure

  • Elijahs experience in the cave
  • Mary and Marthas experience at the grave
  • Disciples experience in the boat?
  • Pauls experience in prison (2 Tim 4:16-17)

Well they were under the cloud!

But this was a good place to be; God was there.

  1. Fed
  2. Dead

all baptised through the sea

At first sight it appeared to the nation of Israel that the Red Sea would be the very means of the death of the people of God

They could only sea a watery “grave” looming ahead; “And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?(Exo 14:11)

The Red Sea of course was a picture of death:

  • Potentially the death of the nation of Israel
  • Actually the death of the Egyptians
  • Spiritually a division / separation from the old life

What they feared as the means of their DEATH

Actually became the means of their DELIVERANCE

What they feared would DESTROY them actually DELIVERED them!

The waters of the Red Sea provided the very medium of their baptism

As they looked in dread at the Red Sea and saw themselves trapped, what they actually were looking at was the largest baptismal tank in history.

This is not simply teaching that God would see them through their problems / Red Sea but this is to say that God would use those problems and trials and adversities as part of His purpose for their good.

This was not the first and would not be the last time that God would so operate:

  • Jacobs flight from Esau (Genesis 27:41ff) – would be Gods means for bringing Jacob into contact with Rachael and Leah and thus founding the nation of Israel, not just that God would be with Jacob (Gen 28:15ff).
  • Josephs slavery in Egypt – not just that the Lord was with him in his trial, not even that God would deliver him from prison, but way bigger than that; the Lord would use that trial to save the nation of Israel from starvation and death!
  • Daniel in the lions den, not just that God would preserve Daniel in the Den but God would prosper Daniel by the Den; removing all opposition and ultimately promoting His Glory through all nations; Daniel 6:25ff.
  • That God would not simply preserve His people in persecution (Acts 8:1ff) but that by their scattering He would propser His people in that persecution (Acts 8:4ff).

We cannot reliably predict outcome from circumstances.

We are a rubbish judge of circumstances.

 

Better than the Best – 1 Corinthians chapter 5 vs 1 to 7

Just added to our teaching section on 1 Corinthians, a new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie:

 

1 Corinthians chater 5 verses 1 to 7 – Better than the Best

 

Notes from the above message:

1 Corinthians chp 5 vs 1 to 7 : ‘Better than the Best’

We may be left perplexed, shocked, confused and astounded; from chapter 5, that a church like Corinth with all of its privileges:

 

  • Foundation in apostolic preaching and teaching
  • Expository ministry of Apollos from the OT scriptures
  • Stories of great conversions and testimonies; eg Sosthenes (1 Co1:1) and Crispus (Acts 18)
  • Signs of the apostles (2 Co 12:12)

 

That such a church could fall so far and so fast
That ought to leave us more than just a little perplexed and confused and shocked
Why should it happen?

 

1 – Doctrinal Confusion? (cf Romans 6:11)
2 – Moral Compromise (1 Co 6:12ff) – difficult to take a stand where we have at least in part compromised ourselves on something very similar – prostitution
3 – Spiritual corruption (1 Co10:4-9)

All of that was a:

  • Distraction from Christ (1Co10:4)
  • Attack upon Christ (1Co10:9)

 

Their relationship with the Lord was compromised and that weakened these believers spiritually; their strength was sapped.
How do we get back?
What about recovery?

  1. Discipline (1Co5:5)
  2. Devotion (1Co5:7)

Discipline:

  1.  Repentance (v2)
  2. Judgment (v3)
  3. Destruction of the flesh (v5)

Not as some have suggested the physical flesh or body of the believer through disease or disaster; some have drawn parallels perhaps with:

  • Job
  • Paul in 2 Co 13 – his thorn in the flesh
  • Believers who are sick and who sleep (1 Co11:30)

This is not the physical flesh here but rather the fallen human nature:

  • Sin resides not in the physical but in the inner fallen nature (Mark 7:15; 20-23)
  • Notice the contrast between flesh and spirit (v5) as opposed to body and spirit (5:3)
  • The judgment is with a view to their salvation and ultimate restoration (5:5; 2 Co 2:5ff); something that is difficult to imagine as an outcome if they have been destroyed!!

Discipline is only one half of the Recovery programme, back to Christ in 1 Corinthians chapter 5

To Discipline over sin the apostle adds, exhorts, gives reason for Devotion to Christ.
7 aspects to Christs surpassing greatness are presented to us by the apostle; following the pattern of Leviticus chapter 23; the 7 Feasts of Jehovah:

  1. Passover
  2. Feast of Unleavened Bread
  3. Firstfruits
  4. Pentecost
  5. Trumpets
  6. Atonement
  7. Tabernacles

In 1 Corinthians chapter 5 we are going to come to the first 2 of these feasts:

  1. Passover
  2. Unleavened Bread

In fact all 7 will be referred to / paralleled in 1 & 2 Corinthians; all pointing to the all sufficiency of a Christ who is able to satisfy:

  1. Passover (1 Co5:7)
  2. Unleavened Bread (1 Co5:7-8)
  3. Firstfruits (1 Co 15:20)
  4. Pentecost (1 Co 12:13)
  5. Trumpets (1 Co 15:51ff)
  6. Atonement (2 Co 5:21)
  7. Tabernacles (2 Co 5:1ff)

Just as the 7 Feasts of Jehovah give us the backbone of the OT religious system, so too if you were to come to the NT and were to ask, what does God have for me today?
What is the Big Picture?
What is the Big Purpose?
We find that it all lies in Christ.
He is the Big Picture!!

Appreciating Christ as our passover (1 Co5:7)
What does that, mean?
Exodus chp 12:

  1. The Place / Purpose (12:1)
  2. The Pre-eminence (12:2)
  3. The Prophecies (12:3)
  4. The Pictures of Christ (chp12)

 

1 – The Place / Purpose (12:1)
What is the passover about?
I want to modify something that has been taught over the years; that the purpose of the passover was to deliver from bondage in Egypt.
That the passover did deliver from:

 

  • Slavery
  • Suffering
  • Sin

Is eminently true (Exodus 3:7ff); at least it is true of the most of the nation of Israel
Of one man however more could be said.
Illust: Leo Brettell who died aged 93 last week. He had risked being shot and being killed by jumping from a moving train. The train was heading to Auschwitz and in the words of Leo Bretholz; anything was better than Auschwitz.
Leo Brettell decided that the possibility of death was better than the worst of this world; Auschwitz.
The passover delivered not only from the worst of this world – from sin and slavery and suffering but for Moses; the passover delivered from:
The Best of this World
For his story we need to turn to Hebrews chapter 11:
Moses chose Christ above:

  • Sovereignty (11:24)
  • Sin (11:25)
  • Silver (11:26)

Moses found that the Passover lamb not only delivered from the worst of Egypt but that the Passover delivered from the best of Egypt.
Moses knew that Christ was Better than the Best!

2 – The Pre-eminence (12:2)
The nation would start their calender from the passover festival (Ex 12:2)
Interesting to reflect on our own calendar today: date, month and year – the year of the birth of the Passover lamb.

 

When a Dream becomes a Vision

Dreams can easily become a sycophantic refuge for the apathetic and hypocritical. The ‘good old days’ of Gods blessing can be safely left there, in the past and with it past passions, past power and past progress. The Corinthians, perhaps not uniquely amongst Christians were happy to place men on a pedestal and praise those who had been a help to them in previous days. They lived their Christian life in the dreams of Joel 2:28. What God had done in the lives of others in days gone by was not the issue. Of primary concern to the apostle Paul was what was hindering the work of God in their life in the here and now. Carnality had eaten cancer like into their spiritual life. They were divided by schism, petty jealousies and compromised by the pursuit of personal lusts. For their dreams of others in the past to become a vision for their own future, repentance from their schismatic sins was required and once that had been acted upon, what was wrong with a little Service?

Taken from :

But a Servant – When a Dream becomes a Vision

Notes from the message :

1 Corinthians chp 3:4-10

We noted last time the significance of the sin of schism.
That despite the many sins of Corinth:

Moral (chps 5-6)
Material (chp 6)
Marital (chp 7)
Meat offered to idols (chps 8 to 10)
Meetings (chps 10 to 14)
Miracle of Resurrection (chp 15)
Money (chp 16)

That it is schism which is identified as both the:

Cause
Consequence

Of their failure to thrive and lack of spiritual appetite (3:3)
We noted that this was due to the:

Cause of Schism – the flesh, carnality

Character of schism – looks at people and fails to see the Person of Christ who is the real source of spiritual food and growth and maturity

Consequence of schism – it cuts us off from the very people who may be a help to us.

What could motivate believers to work together like seeing the blessing of fellowship with the fruitfulness of that fellowship flowing out.
The irony of the situation at Corinth is exposed in 3:6 – the secret of Paul and Apollos success lay in their fellowship with one another

Principles of service:

The Position of the Servant:

“who then is Paul? ”

What about position and place?
No Prime Minister here.
The servant loses his reputation in that of his Lord and masters.
We are unable to really see Paul and Apollos in their service because they hide behind Christ, they point to Christ
Like John the Baptist of old – just a voice crying in the wilderness
Paul is ‘just a servant’
There are lots of ‘just servants’ in the Word of God.
Have you noticed them?
Possibly not!!! They do it very well!

Rebekah was just carrying some water for Eliezers camels when she stumbled into her destiny as the mother of a nation of Gods chosen earthly people, just a servant carrying water!

David was just a message boy carrying some cheeses, and parched corn to his brothers in the valley of Elah, when he was drafted into Gods destiny to slay Goliath and deliver a Kingdom and claim a Princess for his bride.

Widow of Zarephath was just collecting a few sticks when she was met by Elijah, and had her life and that of her family was miraculously preserved, and she became a type of Gods future dealings in grace with the gentiles and the recipient of the Grace of resurrection in her home! She was just out collecting some sticks.

The little Hebrew maid was just serving in her masters home in Assyria when she became the missing link between Naaman the leper and the prophet Elisha.

Ezra the scribe spent his time, very impractically, just studying his Bible, when he was identified by Artaxerxes as the ideal candidate to add content and substance to the newly constructed temple in Jerusalem.

Don’t despise a little Service!

Some are too big to:

Carry some water – What Rebekah did when she stumbled into her destiny as the mother of a nation of Gods chosen people.

Deliver some cheese – That kind of a service is a stepping stone to slaying a giant, delivering a Kingdom and claiming a Princess as a bride!

Pick up a few sticks – That is what you pick up before God reaches into you heart and raises your son from the dead

Serve in the home – The kind of cleaning task that precedes the cleansing of the leper

Nehemiah was just bearing the cup to the King when he was called to
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Purpose of the Servant

So what’s wrong with a little Service then?
I’ll tell you what, it’s ‘little’
I want big!

The service may be little indeed but notice that all of these ‘little’ services have something in common; they encourage and produce faith in a great God!

To carry a little water? – Genesis 24
“And the man bowed down his head and worshipped the Lord”
That’s quite a result from carrying a little water.

To deliver a few messages (1Samuel 17)

“That all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Sam 17:46)
“all this assembly shall know that the Lord safety not with sword and spear for the battle is the Lords” (1 Sam 17:47)

To pick up a few sticks (1 Kings 17)

“And the woman said to Elijah now by this I know that thou art a man of God and the word of the Lord in the mouth is truth. ” (1 Kings 17:24)

To do a little house work: (2 Kings 5:15)
” Behold now I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel. ”
Not bad for a little below the minimum wage service in Nathan household (2 Kings 5:2)

All of these small Acts of service have something in common; they all draw out praise and worship to the Lord, they all bring Glory to the Lord.
No praise for a great servant!
That’s what 1 Co 3:5 is about
Maybe sometimes that can be a problem!

Maybe I want to be the greatest water carrier in the whole of history?
Maybe I want someone to say, look at the way that boy picks up the sticks, you’ve never seen a stick picker upper like that stick picker upper!

That’s not what service is about, it’s about pointing others and drawing others to Christ.
Purpose of the servant is not thus to:

Keep the camels happy

Build a big roaring fire with the sticks

Leave his brothers well fed and content

Have the cleanest house in Syria

This all may sound a touch absurd but how easy is it to very off on the purposes of God and get side tracked with issues that don’t really matter?

For Gods work to become dominated by entertaining carnal Christians, maintaining buildings, sustaining service and services?

Easy to miss the point: “by whom ye believed” (3:5)

Faith encountered
Faith encouraged

Provision of the Lord (3:5)

There is a plan
Pieces of the jigsaw for which we are individually fitted
God is in control, giving to each sovereignly and bringing together the plan.

“as the Lord gave” (3:5)
“God gave” (3:6)
“God that giveth” (3:7)

There is a theme here!!
God gave – Just as in Salvation, so in Service, it is of Grace!

Productivity of Service

Let us avoid 2 errors:

The mistake of trying to do everything
The mistake of endeavouring to do nothing

There is diversity in service
It can be just as disastrous to undertake a service we are not fitted for (cf. King Uzziah and his attempt to do priestly service) as it can be to fail to undertake a service we are fitted for!
Gods fits His servants for complementary service
So often the Lord will bring 2 men (or more) together to do His will and accomplish His service:

Moses and Joshua
David and Solomon
Zerubabel and Ezra
Peter and Paul

The Word of God is full of such great partnerships, not by accident but by design.
Could God not have used just 1 man to accomplish His tasks from beginning to end?
Surely with the calibre of men at His disposal that should have been feasible?
Men like:

Moses and Joshua
David and Solomon
Zerubabel and Ezra
Peter and Paul

If all that was done for God’s Glory was achieved by His Spirit; “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zech 4:6). Then surely the servant becomes an object of Gods Grace rather than a means to assisting the Lord.

Was Moses not sufficiently in touch with God to bring the people into the land : “whom God spoke to face to face”
Was David not close enough to Gods heart? “a man after Gods own heart”
Did Ezra not know his bible well enough?
Did Paul lack understanding of Divine truth?

Why split these tasks?
God certainly in Grace uses the diverse talents and gifts He gives to His distinctive servants.

Moses

Brought up in the palace by Pharaohs daughter (Heb 11:24)
Educated in the wisdom of Egypt (Acts 7:22)
He had access to Pharaoh
He knew how the Egyptian mind worked
He understand their language, learning, culture and protocols
Who better to go in before Pharaoh than one brought up in a royal Egyptian household?
Who better qualified to lead the people out of Egypt than one who had left Egypt himself?

Mind you it would be hard to lead the people of God out of Egypt if you were still living there in heart or in body yourself.

Joshua

Who more suitable to bring the people into the land than one of only 2 faithful men who had already been into the land to spy it out?
The qualification for leadership; “be strong and of good courage” (Josh 1:6); “be thou strong and very courageous” (Josh 1:7) is a qualification already shown by Joshua as one of 2 faithful spies who endeavoured to inspire the people to take the land, (Numbers 14:6-9)

Mind you it would be hard to inspire the people of God to go where we have never been, nor where we do not go ourselves.

God used a man to lead people out of what he had already left himself.
God used a man to lead people into where he had already been himself.
I don’t believe that was a coincidence.

Will we ever Lead anyone out of a world we are not prepared to leave ourselves?
Will will ever Lead anyone into blessings we have never come into ourselves?

Not because of any harsh nor arbitrary rules regarding this imposed by God but simply because leading is that; leading!!!

All of this was too much for one man.

David and Solomon

David laid out the resources for the temple (1 Chronicles 17:4; 22:2-4)
It was given to Solomon to do the building
David with his conquests was ideally placed to gather wealth from subjugated people
Not only was WEALTH needed for this temple but there was a need for someone who understood pi – WISDOM (2 Chronicles 4:2)

Nehemiah and Ezra:

Who better to start the building work at Jerusalem than a man who has Cyrus the emperor as his contact and who has the confidence of the throne? Here is the man who can muster the resources to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Interestingly a glimpse into the answer to a question recently asked of me and one which the OT is not written to specifically address; ‘what about the gentile / non Jewish nations in the OT days, did God have any dealings with them?’

Yes He did:

Abel
Enoch
Noah
Melchizedek
Jethro
Pharaoh
Balaam
Job
Rahab the Harlot
Ruth the Moabitess
Widow of Zarephath
Nathan the Leper
Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel and Belshazzer
Daniel and Darius
Nehemiah and Cyrus
Jonah and Nineveh

Ezra and Zerubabel

Ezra was no Mason nor joiner nor builder
Ezra was a scribe, who had spent his time studying the Word of God:

“Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord to do it and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. ” (Ezra 7:10)

Ezra knew his bible
Ezra had wisdom (Ezra 7:25)

Zerubabel and Joshua built the temple – CONSTRUCTION
Ezra brought content to the building – CONTENT

Zerubabel and Jeshua built the STRUCTURE of the temple
Ezra brought SUBSTANCE to the temple

When we come to serve let us not feel that we must do it all ourselves

Moses and Joshua
David and Solomon
Zerubabel and Ezra
Peter and Paul