Happy Day 3 of our 30 / 30 Challenge!
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Ezra 5 & 6 are powerful passages that reveal how we are to respond to opposition and how God is working behind of the scenes of our lives, giving us favor and power to fulfill His plan.
Ezra 5:2 says, “So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were helping them.”
I LOVE that! Come on team, let’s get busy! We’ve got work to do for the Lord and we aren’t worried about opposition! There were no ranks. The prophets pitched in with the laborers and everyone worked together in spite of the blatant and arrogant opposition.
I couldn’t help but wonder, what opposition might I face that would be a road block to my service for the Lord. How about you?
I LOVE Ezra 5:7-17 too! The children of Israel responded to the opposition with a letter to the king requesting him to look at the original decree and that he would give them the permission needed to continue working on the Temple.
So often, God’s people think they have to sit back and take it. And many times, Christians are told to be silent in the political arena. But that is so far from the biblical examples we are given throughout Scripture. And this is another one. They didn’t riot. They didn’t picket. They respectfully requested the king reconsider the decree that was instituted against them and was trying to prevent them from finishing the work.
Christians are not only to be actively involved in the political scene, but we also aren’t to be doormats. We can respectfully handle things within our culture and community when our rights to serve God are being infringed upon. Salt and light. We are to be salt and light…and a city on a heal. Agents of change. Light in a dark world. But always in a way that honors God.
Oh… and by the way, I love that the children of Israel did not try to disguise their purpose by using some kind of politically correct jargon to make the king think he should do it because it would be a socially beneficial thing to do.
No…they said, “WE ARE SERVANTS OF THE GOD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH…”
YES! I LOVE that!
AND…I love how church and state worked together as we see the king’s response in Ezra 6. (Yes, I know I’m going to get emails on that one!)
But I love how the king ordered not only for the Temple to be rebuilt and all the gold and other items to be restored to the Temple, but he also added that any extra expenses would come from the governmental funds. Yes. That’s right…the added expenses would be paid for by the king.
So the Temple was built, the people rejoiced and worshipped the Lord and in Ezra 6:21-22 is says, “The Passover meal was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile and by the others in the land who had turned from their immoral customs to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. Then they celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. There was great joy throughout the land because the Lord had caused the king of Assyria to be favorable to them, so that he helped them to rebuild the Temple of God, the God of Israel.” (NLT)
There may be conflict along the way and we may loose some battles in our journey, but God’s favor is on God’s people and ultimately we are victorious through Him. Oh that I might have a heart like the children of Israel. To preserve in my pursuit of fulfilling God’s will. To work hard in spite of opposition and to worship Him, not only with the words I sing or the praise I offer from my lips, but by my very life, fully confident that His favor is upon me!
QUESTION: HOW DO YOU HANDLE ONGOING OPPOSITION? HAVE YOU ALLOWED THE POLITICS OF THE DAY TO PREVENT YOU FROM FEELING LIKE YOU CAN GET RESPECTFULLY GET INVOLVED IN POLITICS? HOW DID THE LORD SPEAK TO YOU IN EZRA 5-6?
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