Let us RISE UP & BUILD the BROKEN AREAS of our LIVES
May 15 Bible Reading: Ezra Chapters 4-6
"Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them." (Ezra 5:1-2)
Due to the persistent sins of the people of Judah compounded by the utter disdain that they had shown towards God, God had allowed Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon to invade Judah and destroy Jerusalem including God’s temple that was located there in 586 B.C. This is what was described about the carnage: "Then they burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions" (2 Chron. 36:19).
After this utter destruction, it was the plan of God to rebuild his temple back to its former glory, and God had stirred up Cyrus, the king of Persia to issue the following proclamation: "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem" (Ezra 1:2-3).
For the rebuilding effort, God then raised up Zerubbabel, the civil governor of Judah, and Joshua, the high priest, to lead the efforts and the people for rebuilding the temple of God. This work was progressing smoothly until some “adversaries of Judah and Benjamin” (Ezra 4:1) tried to infiltrate and cause trouble for the building project. When their request to help was snubbed, these wicked men "troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose" (4:4-5), and even "wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem" (4:6) to Artaxerxes king of Persia (4:7-22), who ordered the rebuilding work to be halted immediately (4:23-24).
Thus, the work of rebuilding the temple stopped for fifteen long years. During that time, God prepared two prophets - Haggai and Zechariah - to encourage the people so that they could restart their temple rebuilding efforts. Haggai challenged the people to pay as much attention to God’s house as they were paying to their own houses, while Zechariah excited them with visions of a blessed future for those who obeyed. Thus, they spoke messages of encouragement and reminded the Israelites of their obligation to finish rebuilding God’s temple. Then, the leaders and the people responded to the messages by the prophets, and they began to build the house of God three weeks after Haggai began preaching (see Haggai 2:20–23; Zech. 4). After all, God’s Word had commenced the project (1:1), and now God’s Word would complete it as well.
Today, let us rise up and build the broken areas of our lives as well. It may be a broken relationship with God as that of the prodigal son with his father (Luke 15:14-20), or it may be a broken worship as that of the Israelites during the time of Elijah who had to repair the broken altar of God (1 Kings 18:30-32). God is waiting for us to come to our senses, repent and rise up from our sinful life, and return to our heavenly Father who will receive us with open arms of love. When we listen to His voice, and start doing the work that He has destined for us, we have this great assurance from God that He will help us through the Holy Spirit: "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6).