Ezra 9:8-10, “And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this?”
We are often amazed at God’s gracious dealing with Israel. As we read their history, it seems that God was always delivering them from some form or degree of bondage. He used several different instruments to give them a reviving, stirring them up to make them constructive. Their grace space was undeserved, unearned, but so is ours. Thank God, that in spite of their trend toward declension and apostasy, His grace always provided for a remnant and escape. (V. 14)
Romans 11:5-6, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”
Grace space as considered from our text can teach us of the power of our preservation, to leave us a remnant to escape, and promotion to a prominent position, to give us a nail in his holy place, and of provision for precious perception, that our God may lighten our eyes. I am thinking of this in relation to time, area and opportunity. The grace of God that is producing lasting results, gives eternal benefits, is now offering passing opportunities.
We think of grace space for Israel as a nation. “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, (killed the Prince of life) as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, When the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began…Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” –Acts 3:17-21,26.
Grace space for all nations: “God that made the world…And hath made of one (blood) all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by the art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at (overlooked); but now commendeth all men everywhere to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead:” -Acts 17:24,26-31. Therefore we realize that all nations will have opportunity to have fallen in line with God’s will and purpose.
Apostate Christendom is given space to repent, (Rev. 2:21) In fact each assembly written to in Revelation two and three hear the words “repent” except Philadelphia and Smyrna. God graciously warns them to turn around. He give space for a change of direction. Changes of attitude and actions come from a changed heart.
Space is given to each individual. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence:” –Gen. 6:5,11. No wonder the Lord said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” -Gen. 6:3. Reading this verse along with I Peter 3:20, it seems that God gave them ample opportunity to avail themselves of His marvelous grace. “…when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord…and Noah walked with God” -Gen. 6:8-9, It seems here that God began anew, with this one man a real movement of grace. In each generation, God always had those who had faith and walking with Him.
The “fashion” of the ark in the details given, teach us some lessons about grace space. “A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it about; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it” -Gen. 6:16. Each creature found his space by grace in the safe place. The three “stories,” elevation or nests in the ark remind me of Amos 9:6, “It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth.” We also think of the Tabernacle having the outer court, inner court, and the holiest of holies.
Time is of the essence: “And now for a little space grace hath been shewed” -In a contract each party has an allotted period in which to fulfill his part of the agreement. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work:” -Ecc. 3:1,17. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…” -Ecc. 12:1. Give Him your whole life while you are full of life. In so many of our everyday events and experience, we fail to realize the importance of the present. Lord help us to be wise in time, redeem the time, buy up the opportunities that are quickly passing to appropriate the grace of God. “We spend our years as a tale that is told. So teach us to number our day, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom” -Ps. 90:9,12.
How are we spending our span? What tale will our years tell? What are we doing with our grace space? “O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” -Ps. 90:14. It is not just a matter of counting days, but rather making our days count for His glory. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that NOW it is high time to awake out of sleep: for NOW is our salvation nearer than when we believed” -Rom. 13:10-11. “We then as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he said, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee; behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation). Giving no offense in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:” -II Cor. 6:1-3. God’s grace would make us fruitful, give us productive lives for His glory. This is a time to be sowing, and growing, and for His light to be glowing, but very soon we will be going and then it will be time for His universal showing of the glorious grace He has been freely bestowing. GLORY BE TO God forever!!
The grace of God did not make the Apostle Paul lax, lazy or indifferent, but spiritually ambitions. God’s grace was not ineffective or without results in Paul’s life. Praise God, we are still receiving great benefit. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me:” –I Cor. 15:10, Read Col. 1:27-28.
How much grace do we want, do we need, will we take? “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” -Eph. 4:7. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” -II Cor. 8:9. “…they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” -Rom. 5:17.