Thursday, 19 August 2021
“….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 tells us the story of two returns of God’s people from Babylon—the first led by Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple (chapters 1-6) and the second under the leadership of Ezra to rebuild the spiritual condition of the people (chapters 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 stopped by the natives of the land. But God had 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. This incident makes one thing clear, God can accomplish His purposes even through the enemies of the church.
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 the 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” (V.16) and resumed the worship in the Temple.
The same applies to us— 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 guarantees 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. By looking to the Lord to be strengthened and trusting Him for the resources, these difficulties can be overcome!
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. It is a clear statement by our Lord, and He is backing it up. 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 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 better to accomplish His purpose. Rise up and complete the God-given task!
PROMISE: "I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name." (Isaiah 45:2-3)