Thursday, 10 June 2021
“So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.” - Ezra 5:2
Taking a look at the background of today’s reading, we understand that God’s children were exiled in Babylon for years and many were settled into the lifestyle there. The Jerusalem temple had been destroyed. When the Babylonian empire was defeated in 539 BC, Cyrus the Persian ruler granted permission for these exiles to return to their homeland and to rebuild the temple. It was Zerubbabel who led the first and the largest group back to Israel.
We need to note the construction sequence here. They did not start with city walls and the gates or the official buildings instead, their prime priority was rebuilding the temple. As the foundations of the Temple of the Lord was being laid, praise, thanksgiving and worship followed. (Ezra 3:11). We see here many were praising in joy and others who had seen the former temple in its glorious form were weeping aloud (Ezra 3:12).
It is not the exterior beauty that matters to God but what counts before Him is the attitude of the builders- the inward beauty. Who we are in Christ matters more than what we accomplish! If we are serving God wholeheartedly then we don’t need to compare ourselves or our work with others. We are all called to engage in His Kingdom work.
Like Zerubbabel and his people who faced opposition while building the Temple, we too can expect the same when we work for God or when we stand in faith. 2 Timothy 3:12 [TLB] says: “Yes, and those who decide to please Christ Jesus by living godly lives will suffer at the hands of those who hate him.” Discouraging words and work from indifferent people, mocking and accusations, etc. are tactics used by the devil to frustrate us and to halt God’s work or our spiritual journey. We need to trust in God to overcome such obstacles and move ahead with the work that God has planned for each of us. Just as He watched over the Jewish elders, He watches over us!
Zerubbabel and his team did not allow the setbacks of the interference of the governor to stop the work—the Lord was overseeing the entire situation (Vs.4&5) and we see that the work was completed (Ezra 6:14). Be assured that God is in absolute control and nothing should hinder us from doing the task that God has commissioned us. When confronted by the governor they replied “we are the servants of the God of heaven and earth.” (Ezra 5:11) Knowing your position in Christ will help you to lean on to Him and press on!
Every believer is expected to serve according to the talents he/she has been given. Every person is gifted with many resources. Everything we possess is from God and we have a gr