The great awakening that began under Ezra now produces its best and most enduring fruit: a reorientation of Israel’s entire national life around the Word of God and the House of God. This is not a new covenant, but a firm commitment to obey the original Sinai Covenant. Every true revival in history involves a return to the Ancient Path.
This renewal is from the ground up. Ezra’s name is not mentioned. And, although Nehemiah signs the pledge in chapter 10, the initiative came from the community. This is another classic feature of revivals. They almost always start on the periphery of the Church instead of the centre. Think ACS Clocktower.
A third and most important feature of this covenant renewal is its family orientation. It is initiated and ratified almost entirely by fathers, be they clergy or laity. Most of the signatories of the pledge are heads of large family networks that formed the building blocks of Jewish society.
The heads of fathers’ houses who studied under Ezra in Nehemiah 8 now take matters into their own hands to lead the nation in revival, family by family. No one could be happier about this than Ezra himself. He doesn’t even sign the pledge. His father Seraiah signs it for him (10:2, EZRA 7:1).
Thus Israel returns to the Ancient Path. Fathers now take full responsibility to teach and lead their families in obedience to the Torah: Hear, O Israel! (DEUT 6:4-9). The Israel of God, which includes the Church, is a Family of families led by fathers. And mothers too. Wives and children participate in the covenant renewal ceremony (10:28). While obedience to God is a deeply personal affair, it is equally and essentially a community affair. The family living room is as important a setting for worship and obedience as the church sanctuary (ALEXEI SIVERTSEV).
WALL OF DUTY
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (DEUT 6:4-9).
Pray for Fathers and Mothers to hear and obey. May the ripple effects of their obedience go far and wide. Down their generational line and across their social web, influencing Singapore Godward, family by family. Glory to God!
May God’s Law be so deeply embedded in their hearts that no matter the changes in the law of the land, they stay true to the Law of the Lord. They stand their ground. They are his voice in the wilderness, calling their generation back to God. They lead the fight against end-time perversion and resist it unto death. They keep covenant with God and perpetuate a community of kingdom disciples grounded in the Truth (COL 1:23).