Friday, 31 March 2023
“….for the LORD made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”- Ezra 6:22
The Book of Ezra gives the account of two returns of God’s people from their exile in Babylon—the first led by Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple (1-6) and the second under the leadership of Ezra to rebuild the spiritual condition of the people (7-10). The word 'Ezra' is the Aramaic word for 'ezer' in Hebrew, which means -"Yahweh helps."(NKJV Study Bible)
The initial progress of the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem was met with opposition and stopped by the natives of the land (Ezra 4). In today’s reading, we see how God made necessary arrangements to restart the work by aligning King Darius after finding the scroll written by the former King Cyrus. Amazingly, this not only allowed the people in Jerusalem to restart the work, but also the enemies were ordered by the king to supply them with necessary provisions for the daily sacrifices on the altar. The king gave strict warning not to hinder the work on the Temple. This incident makes one thing clear, God can accomplish His purposes even through the enemies of the church and of His people.
When the enemy comes to disrupt the work of God, it is very important that we turn around to listen from God rather than finding ways to overcome that difficulty in our own ways. In this particular instance, God sent His prophets and encouraged them. Prophet Haggai especially was used by God to convey clear message to His people as we read from Haggai 1:13-14: Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, …."I am with you, declares the LORD." And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the ….
the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house
of the LORD of hosts, their God." They all took courage and started to rebuild the Temple even in midst of the strongest opposition from the enemy. They were able to finish the task and they “celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy” (Ezra 6:16) and resumed the worship in the Temple.
The applications from this incident are quite clear for us too. God's real work will always be met with opposition, but that is not the stop-sign from God, instead God says- “I am with you!” God's presence and provision guarantee all the resources we need to complete the task given by God. Today much of God's work are met with unprecedented challenges from the enemy and have stopped half way. The enemy brings discouragement which may cause God’s people to abandon or slow down the work. Looking to the Lord to be strengthened in times of adversity and trusting Him for the resources, these difficulties can be overcome!
Christ Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 “….I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” What a blessed assurance this single verse gives to us! This clear statement by our Lord is being backed up by Him through the ages. The Lord’s church has prevailed in the midst of adversity. Let us rise up and build the Kingdom of God because the God of heaven and earth says He is with us. His Spirit is with us and in us. He will take us through the deep waters, but it will not drown us. He will take us through the fire, but it will not consume us. Instead all this will strengthen us to accomplish His purpose. Rise up and complete the God-given task!
Quote for the Day: If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem be against us, we do not believe Him at all. -Charles Spurgeon
Listen: 'I will build My Church'