Scripture reading for May 5th: Ezra 4-6
When God’s people set out to rebuild His temple in Jerusalem, there was opposition from those who felt threatened. Our enemy, Satan, doesn’t like spiritual progress and restoration of true worship. The rebuilding of God’s temple is all about true worship. True worship must be accomplished in Spirit and Truth. (John 4:24) God’s people must come freely by faith and humbly by God’s prescribe way. The Temple under the old covenant was God’s prescribed place of worship.
The builders faced opposition. (Ezra 4:1-5) These enemies came first to offer help in building. This was a subversive attempt to undermine the work by hindering it. Zerubbabel saw through their plot and refused their help. These enemies then tried to discourage and intimidate the workers. They accused them falsely to King Cyrus and his successor, King Darius. (Ezra 4:11-16)
God raised up prophets to help the priests and the people. Haggai and Zechariah spoke to the people and gave them vision and encouragement to complete the work and stand against opposition. Zerubbabel and Jeshua continued their faithfulness to the plan of God to rebuild. Good leadership confronted the enemies of God’s people and continued to work!
God watched over the work, and through the governor, Tattenai, a letter was sent to King Darius. The Jews requested a search of the records and a ruling by King Darius. The order from King Cyrus was found and in response King Darius commanded Tattenai and the other officials to stay away from the work and allow it to proceed. Funds from the royal treasury were also to be supplied to finish the project! (Ezra 6:6-10)
The King even added a penalty to any who would hinder the work of rebuilding God’s temple. “Furthermore, I decree that if anyone changes this edict, a beam is to be pulled from his house and he is to be lifted up and impaled on it. And for this crime his house is to be made a pile of rubble.” (Ezra 6:11) This is amazing that a foreign king would so strongly support God’s work! Yet the hearts of kings are in the hands of the Lord and He turns them as He wills! (Proverbs 21:1) God’s people will always face opposition, yet God’s hand will guide them through each situation!