SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
“This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai sent:
The governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and his companions, the Persians who were in the region beyond the River, to Darius the king.
7 (They sent a letter to him, in which was written thus)
To Darius the king:
8 Let it be known to the king that we went into the province of Judea, to the temple of the great God, which is being built with heavy stones, and timber is being laid in the walls; and this work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands.
9 Then we asked those elders, and spoke thus to them: “Who commanded you to build this temple and to finish these walls?” 10 We also asked them their names to inform you, that we might write the names of the men who were chief among them.
11 And thus they returned us an answer, saying: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed. 12 But because our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and carried the people away to Babylon. 13 However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to build this house of God. 14 Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple that was in Jerusalem and carried into the temple of Babylon — those King Cyrus took from the temple of Babylon, and they were given to one named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. 15 And he said to him, ‘Take these articles; go, carry them to the temple site that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its former site.’ 16 Then the same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem; but from that time even until now it has been under construction, and it is not finished.”
17 Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the king’s treasure house, which is there in Babylon, whether it is so that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send us his pleasure concerning this matter” Ezra 5:6-17.
“WATCH AND PRAY SO THAT YOU WILL NOT FALL INTO TEMPTATION. THE SPIRIT IS WILLING, BUT THE BODY IS WEAK” Matthew 26:41 (NIV).
In the previous edition we talked about the fact that God’s people who fall or are stopped by one circumstance or the other will surely bounce back at the right time. This was taken from the fact that the Jews resumed the building of the Temple at Jerusalem which was stopped by King Artarxerxes for ten years. We learnt that no matter how long it will take us to wait, we should be patient and not give up. We should also ensure that we engage in spiritual warfare and not physical battles. If we decide to fight with the wrong weapons, we shall fail. In this edition, we want to remind ourselves that even after bouncing back, the enemy will still not give up. Therefore we should watch and pray and be always prepared for the battle before us.
After the Jews had resumed rebuilding the Temple, the enemies struck again. They were the same people who plotted against the Jews at the time of Artarxerxes. They wrote to King Darius telling him about what the Jews were doing in Jerusalem. According to the enemies, the Jews were building the Temple of the Great God with large stones and placing the timbers on the walls. The Jews worked so hard to build the Temple that even their enemies recognized their diligence. According to the accusers:
“THE WORK IS BEING CARRIED ON WITH DILIGENCE AND IS MAKING RAPID PROGRESS UNDER THEIR DIRECTION” Ezra 5:8, NIV.
The above shows that the Jews took the work of God seriously and worked hard to ensure that God’s Temple was built as quickly as possible with the best materials they could gather. How serious are you as far as God’s work is concerned? How diligent are you when it comes to the work God has assigned to you? Many Christians approach God’s work with la lackadaisical attitude. They sometimes care more about their personal projects than projects connected to the work of God. It is sad that some Christians live in mansions but are unwilling to contribute towards the building of places of worship for believers. Some spend lots of time reading books related to their academic work but do not have time to study God’s word. Many of us spend a lot of time browsing on the internet, watching movies and other television programs, yet have no time to pray or even attend some very important church programs. Are we serious with the things God has entrusted into our care? How are you using the Spiritual gifts God has given you? Let us remember that the Jews worked assiduously to build the Temple of God. Let us also be diligent and do what we have been ordained to do in building the body of Christ today!
Even though the enemies wanted to see to it that the Jews could not continue with the project, they could hardly find anything to accuse them of. They realized the Jews were diligent. They also reported to King Darius that the Jews claimed to be servants of the God of heaven and earth when they confronted them. This is an important declaration because it shows the relationship between the Jews and God. The Jews acknowledged their place as servants of God and were not ashamed to tell the world about who their God is. They told them their God is the Creator of heaven and earth. They also acknowledged what happened to their forefathers and why they went into captivity and the subsequent part of their history. They said all those to show their firm faith in the LORD and how far he had brought them. The enemy was looking for their downfall but they stood firm in the LORD when they were confronted. They proclaimed the name of the LORD to the people as the one whose Temple and cities they were building. It is an indication that the Jews remained close to God while they were rebuilding the Temple and were not afraid to proclaim Him to the pagan leaders who confronted them.
Sometimes we allow certain circumstances to force us abandon our God. When we come under certain types of pressures we sometimes give up on God or behave as if we have no relationship with God. We should however remember that every difficulty we face in life as Christians is part of the spiritual warfare we are engaged in. Therefore we should always remain strong in the LORD through prayers. This is very important because the enemy will not stop at anything in his quest to see us destroyed. We may think we have overcome them, but they never give up. They will go and plan another strategy to overcome us. Remember: Satan tempted Jesus three times and left him for a while. It is when we think all is well and begin to rest our spiritual weapons that the enemy will attack us and may be able to conquer us. Let us therefore remain strong in the LORD and continue wearing the full armor of God even after we have bounced back, remembering that the enemy is always lurking around. He is always looking for loopholes through which he can attack us.
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.