"Conform". Good or bad word?
Week 22: 24/05/2023. Wed
Ezra organised the return and returnees from Babylon to conform to God's way of doing things in the past—the Exodus.
"Conformity" might have become a negative word. Conformity is neutral, neither inherently holy nor evil. It depends on what you are conforming too. If fact, if you put all those who "hate conformity" together, they conform to one another. When Ezra sought to pattern his/his fellow travellers' return after the pattern of Exodus from Egypt, Ezra was in fact honouring God.
Participants could easily identify the events as second chances given by God, as connected with their ancestors and spiritual ancestry (avoid the feelings of rootlessness), and as a teaching tool for the next generation who did not experience important spiritual milestones first-hand:
(1) the numerous 12 or multiples of 12 point to the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel) and God's promises made to their ancestors. Are you today trusting God on His past promises and guidance to your predecessors?
(2) the use of gold, silver and bronze points to the original materials for their Tabernacle and desert wandering days, and the intention of God for their relationship with Him to be long-lasting and permanent, taking cue from the long-lasting materials (not-plastics or disposables) to be used in the rites.
(3) the assembling of priests (who alone can minister in the Holy places) and Levites (who alone was authorised to help carry the holy utensils), sought to conform to Moses' laws for God's design for ministry in the Tabernacle and their religious systems.
For NT believers today, we have many examples passed down to us—the holy communion, the baptism, the focus of energy of your fellow travellers, and the many good patterns of many past practitioners of the NT. Conform!