Read Ezra 4-6
King Cyrus commands the building of the temple. Opposition and accusations ensue in order stop the rebuilding.
Where have you made progress? How has the enemy tried to stop you? Jesus has all eternal dominion and authority.
In Ezra 5:3, the governor asks the question, who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?
The enemy will use rulers and men in authority to interfere and intimidate and even to attempt to halt the building up of God’s kingdom. God himself was working, and the prophets were working in conjunction with God, Haggai, and Zechariah are present to maintain and strengthen the work.
“Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord.”
Haggai 1:13 NIV
HE IS WITH US!
The enemy is always looking to deconstruct, to destroy, to tear down. (John 10:10) Jesus came to give life and those sent by him do the same. In 2 Corinthians 10:8, Paul says I boast somewhat further about our authority which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for destroying you…
The purpose of Cyrus, the king of Persia’s authority and even Paul the apostle’s authority is to build. It is the same for each of us, not to be destructive, or to be territorial. Read it in 2 Corinthians 13:10. For this reason, I am writing these things while absent, so that when present, I need not use severity, in order in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for tearing down.
There are some key lessons with how to deal with interference and opposition. Our authority comes from God and we don’t have to be rude, but we do know who we are serving. Ezra 5:11, we are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago…
Your first response to opposition is to remember who you are serving. God has authorized your activity.
In Matthew 21 Jesus is questioned by what authority he operated in, and who gave him his authority? Read the account for an additional perspective in Mark 11:27-12:27. And just like in the days of the Ezra and the temple’s rebuilding, Jesus outwits those questioning his authority. This is like some good lawyering. Much in the same way that these letters written back-and-forth are good lawyering and extraordinary wisdom, HE IS THE SAME GOD. With tact it is suggested, Darius check the records. And he does. Afterwards not only are they authorized but further provision was prescribed, the expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury. God’s provision is always reliable and often from unique sources. Consider, the ministry of Jesus was financed by a woman Joanna, the wife of Chuza who was a steward of Herod. Luke 8:2-3.
Are you serving Jesus? Be courageous! Trust Jesus. When he was resurrected, he stood in the midst of his disciples and said, ‘all power has been given unto me in heaven and in earth.’ Matthew 28:18 HE still has the power.
Who is the final authority over our lives? If you are in a dilemma, don’t worry, Jesus is able to navigate the most challenging of opponents. Colossians 2:15
Ezra, the priest and descendent of Aaron the chief priest, is given everything he needs, whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, so the work can be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven. Ezra 7:10
Artaxerxes, king of kings, had a proper fear of the Lord. This fear of God will kick out on other fears, and also lead so much blessing which we read in Psalms 128. Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.
Just this review of God’s authority to build the temple should encourage you to take courage and build. In the New Testament Paul says he was building people, so let that be our first priority. Don’t be discouraged by people’s talk either.
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’ ” “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.””
Haggai 1:2, 4-6 NIV
It doesn’t always matter what people say what matters as what God is saying! What is he saying to you today?