July 6, 2017
Ezra 4-Part 3
LET IT GLOW
We thought everything would go fine. Governor Zerubbabel (appointed over Judah) along with the returnee Jews, built an altar right away to worship God upon their arrival in Jerusalem. They worked hard to build their homes and the Temple, laying its foundation. The excitement was in the air as the Jews sang, shouted, and rejoiced over the progress their God had given them.
Then the trouble came. The Samaritans were refused to be allowed to help build the place of worship. (They were a half-reed nation of mixed Jews and Gentiles, who worshiped God along with worshiping idols.) The people of the land hired men at court to resist the Jews and it succeeded in stopping the work on the Temple.
Two letters were written to the kings of the region. The second one was successful in its purpose-to stop the Jews from rebuilding the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. False accusations included a description of the Jews as a rebellious group who would not pay their taxes and would lead a revolt against King Artaxerxes. The king was challenged to check the royal records for further proof.
In checking the historical records, it was found that mighty kings came from Jerusalem. Solomon had ruled the mighty regional empire. Zedekiah had revolted against Nebuchadnezzar. Artaxerxes did not want to aid the building of a rebellious city and nation as Cyrus established the ruling.
How discouraging for the Jews. However, one day a king Jewish king would come back to Jerusalem to rule over his kingdom and beloved Israel-King Jesus. Let us take courage friends and followers of Jesus. False accusations, slander, ridicule, and mocking may come, but let us not loose heart. Let us consider our self as blessed.
Luke 6:22 says, Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
LET IT GROW
Sadly, the work on the Temple stopped for 10 years because the king issued such an order.
Life Application Study Bible says:
Setbacks and standstills are painful and discouraging to God's workers. These exiles had a double dose (4:1-5 and 4:6-22). Leaders should do everything to keep work from grinding to a halt, ye circumstances sometimes really are beyond our control. When you have been brought to a standstill, remember to still stand strong in the Lord.James 5:10 says, Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Paul wrote to the Philippian church, found in1:29, For unto you is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for His sake.
Let us stand strong in the Lord, as Joshua was told repeatedly. We know God brought down a wall through Joshua's army (Jericho). He can do the same for us.
LET IT GO
Be faithful to the death.
Stay close to Jesus during affliction.