Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ezra-When Rebellion is Good

By Mary Vee
Ezra 5 

From Ezra's Journal


Photo Courtesy Bringing Cedars logs to rebuild the temple
My name is Ezra. I am a prophet sent by God to give His message to the Jews living in Jerusalem.

Haggai and Zechariah were sent by God to give messages to the people. The words meant so much to us. 

I must admit we had been slack in following through with rebuilding the temple. Our eyes had been on ourselves and our own needs. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah not only encourage us to get to work, point out our errors, but also reminded us how much God loves us.

Spies came into our city. They didn't like seeing the work. They had written a letter to the king of Babylon and he had ordered us to stop building. We did. In fear of our lives.

But God's message through Haggai and Zechariah encourage us to work no matter what the king of Babylon or the spies said. Haggai, Zechariah, and I rolled up our sleeves and worked with the others. The men of Jerusalem needed to see the prophets of God committed to God's work, too.

The spies returned. Needless to say they were not happy. Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates asked, "Who said you could rebuild this temple and restore this structure?" Before anyone could answer he raised his voice and pointed to our leaders, "What are the names of the men constructing this building?"

We stood there, not answering the questions. The spies became so angry they stomped away threatening to send King Darius a letter.

Dear King Darius:

Cordial greetings.

The king should know that we went to the district of Judah. The people are building the temple with large stones and placing timbers in the walls. The work is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction.

We asked the leaders who authorized the work and for the names of those who were working.

They answered: "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished. But because our fathers angered the God of heaven, he handed them over to Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.

"In the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, he issued a decree to rebuild this house of God. He even sent gold and silver articles from the original temple to be put back where they belonged. He said, to rebuild the temple on its original site. We have been working on the temple but have not finished it yet."

"Now it if pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter."

While the spies waited for the king to answer, we worked to rebuild the temple.

Come back next time to see what happened.

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1.  What two prophets encouraged the people to build the temple?
2.  What king did the people say gave them permission to build the temple.
3.  Who did the spies tattle to?
4.  What did the people and the prophets keep doing?
5.  Why didn't the people obey the spies?

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