The prophet Ezra wrote this a few years before Nehemiah began repairing the walls of Jerusalem. But now for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in His sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage( Ezra 9:8). While the concept of a ‘remnant’ is primarily used in regard to Jews returning from exile, there is a thread of the remnant throughout scripture. The ‘remnant’ is defined as that which remains after the last cutting, such as a patch of cloth left after most has been cut away. In scripture it is a people in the world but not of the world. It is a people dedicated to advance God’s kingdom in the face of formidable odds. It is a people who only live and move from a firm foundation that is unshakable because the world is shaking. It is a people who have embraced a ‘firm place’ in the spirit realm that makes them immovable within the Kingdom.
The prophet Ezra knew that it was the grace of God that gave them a firm place to restore and occupy their land.
The firm place under the new covenant is the place of grace; the place with Jesus as the cornerstone and the prophets and apostles completing the foundation. Grace, understood and lived at a deeper level, is pre-requisite to the remnant living fully and occupying completely the land. They live expectantly and actively for the Kingdom. They prefer heaven to earth, but know they occupy earth to advance the Kingdom.
The Apostle Paul spoke of a remnant saying ‘so too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works.’ (Romans 11:5, 6) Those of the remnant are not of the remnant because of their great works. They embrace God’s great grace to which they have submitted and by which they are being transformed. They have a firm sense of purpose, passion and perspective focused on the Kingdom of God.
Ezra recognized the remnant as different among his people. He said the remnant were ‘everyone whose heart God had moved’ (Ezra 1:5). Today the remnant differ from the mainstream of culture and from the mainstream of the church. The have moved from the mainstream to the river whose streams make glad the city of God (Ps. 46:4). You are DIFFERENT! WE are DIFFERENT! The stream in which we live is different. To be different and advance the Kingdom of God requires a stream of great grace to endure; great grace to extend to those who see you as ‘different’. Embrace this firm place; a stream and a foundation. One that continually flows from city of God; the other that is firmly fixed as the foundation of that city. Live there and you will advance His kingdom!!!