Amplified Bible (AMP)
Then all the people gathered together as one man in the broad place before the Water Gate; and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had given to Israel.
And Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of both men and women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first of the seventh month.
He read from it, facing the broad place before the Water Gate, from early morning until noon, in the presence of the men and women and those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
As one man...
What mental image do you have when thinking about this phrase? It's obvious that "all the people" equal many more than just one man. Let me propose to you that "as one man" is referring to a heart quality shared by all the people. The people as a whole unit, as one man, desired to know God's heart as expressed by His Word. These people were attentive to the reading of the Law, because in their heart, they all desired to do right, to live according to God's directives.
Later, in chapter 8, verse 9, the people wept when hearing God's Law. Apparently, this "one man" was being convicted of how far from God's holy mark they had been living. Yet Ezra encourages this "one man."
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Then [Ezra] told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.
How does this story apply to the church at large today? Are we attentive to God's law? Do we share a common desire to hear, then obey? Do we feel the sting of conviction when what we think or do doesn't line up with living the way God desires?
I am not writing about following the law as a mechanical manual, us being religious robots who walk through life feeling condemned, who work, and work to prove worthiness. Let it never be!!!
Freedom is conviction of His Spirit, empowered by grace, living knowing we are loved by God!!! Having this corporate heart attitude through out the church (His Bride) qualifies us as being gathered together "as one man." Excitedly anticipating God's direction, feeling our heart being stirred for change we will embrace the Spirit's conviction.
As we listen attentively to what God is saying, together with a like heart's desire, then we become one in the eyes of God. Jesus isn't coming for many brides, He is coming for one Bride, "one (hu)mans, His unified people!
Sooo, the next time fear induces you to "politely ignore" a brother or sister in Christ or hold those people whom you judge as sinners at arms length, remember the people who gathered together, attentive to God's Law, being seen by God as "one man" and choose to be unified for a holy change!
We need each other! It's the way God designed His Church! We must forgive and encourage and hold each other up! Some may even need to contact a brother or sister whom they have mistreated. Living in this way, God sees us as one man!!! Jesus, sees us as His radiantly beautiful Bride!!!
In the name of our Bridegroom, Jesus...AMEN!!!