Scripture Read: Ezra 5 - 6
Title: The Temple is Rebuilt
(H) Highlight verse: "And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy." Ezra 6:16
(E) Explain: The rebuilding of the temple resumed when the prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the people in Judah and Jerusalem. Once again opposition arose as the Tattenai and Shetharbozenai wrote to King Darius about what was happening. This time we read, "But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until the report should reach Darius and then an answer be returned by letter concerning it." This time the Jews were not intimidated by the opposition and did not cease. They would wait until the heard back from Darius.
The opposing men wrote a letter to King Darius informing him of what was going on, but his response was not what they were hoping for. The King was in favor of the temple construction and approved the work. He instrcts the opposing men to leave the Israelites alone and let them complete the construction. About four years later the temple was complete and the Israelites dedicated the temple and observed the Passover. They celebrated because God had changed the heart of the King so the temple could be completed.
(A) Application: God had promised long ago that the exiles would return to Jerusalem and the temple would be rebuilt. God always keeps his promises. In these passages we see the faithfulness of God in action. I am sure the people the in Jerusalem were frustrated as they returned to their city and began working on the Temple just to have it shut down initially because of opposition twice. But God had a plan. He had declared that the Temple would be completed and worship in the Temple would resume. I am sure the people were excited, then frustrated, then worried and then encouraged all during this time. I am sure there were days when they believed the Temple would never be finished. There were days that they were overzealous to get the work started and completed. There were days that they were frustrated because they knew God had given them the "go ahead" to build jut to be shut down. I can imagine the people experienced the whole gamut of emotions. But God remained faithful and in due time His promises came to pass.
The truth of God's faithfulness rings true in our lives today. God has promised redemption. He has promised to set the world right one day. He has promised eternal life to those who believe in Jesus. He has promised to be with us, no matter the circumstances in life. God is faithful to keep his promises and we should take comfort in this. No matter where you are today in your walk with God, hold on to His promises because He is faithful to keep them.
(R) Respond: God, I hold on to your promises and I believe you are faithful to keep your promises.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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