Boldness & Courage

Ezra 5:1-17

How else is it possible to describe what happened in today’s passage after we read of the threat from opposition yesterday which resulted in the work of the temple building ceasing.

By the words spoken from the prophets of GodHaggai and Zechariah, the people of Israel, starting with their leaders (Zerubbabel and Jeshua) went ahead to continue building the temple. This was clearly against the order given by king Artaxerxes, who had instructed the work to cease.

The governor of that region by the name Tatnai, then rose up and queried them saying, “who commanded you to build this house”? They were not answerable to Tatnai, and the matter eventually got to Darius the king. God was with these elders as the work continued. The response they gave as shown in the letter sent to Darius was that, they were God’s servants who went into captivity because of their sins, however God had allowed them to come back through the decree of Cyrus, and they have received commandment to rebuild the temple which was built many years ago by their king. They even made it known to Darius that Cyrus delivered back to them the vessels stolen from God’s house through Sheshbazzar the governor, who he also gave order that the house of God should be built in his place.

What a boldness, what a courage! This could only come from seeking God and listening to his words of prophecy as we saw the prophets do. No matter what the opposition is, God’s word is able to give comfort, boldness and courage to continue. we can know how to answer the adversaries with his wisdom, and we can fulfill the good intentions he has laid on our minds.

Some verses to remember

vs 2: Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

vs 5: But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.

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Ezra 4:1-24

Life seems to be always full of adversaries. There are some people who are not just happy with progress, change, and improvements in other people’s lives. Just yesterday, we read of the laying of the foundations of the temple in Jerusalem, in today’s chapter opposition arose to hamper the progress of this good work.

Initially, these adversaries came to Zerubbabel, asking him to allow them to build with Israel, claiming that they also sought Israel’s God and sacrificed unto Him. This was however a lie, and Zerubbabel along with jeshua made it known plainly to them that they had no part with Israel and could not be involved with building God’s house.Therefore, these people weakened the hands of the people of Judah and troubled them in building God’s house.

The main opposition arose when these disgruntled people wrote through Bisham, Mithredath, Tabeel, Rehum and Shimshai to Artaxerxes, the king of Persia against Jerusalem. They claimed that these people who came up from captivity were rebuilding a rebellious city, setting up its walls and foundations, and that if the city was built, the king would no longer receive toll, tribute, custom from them again, and thus damage the king’s revenue. They told the king that if the city was built,  he would have no portion in that region again.

In response to their letter, Artaxerxes told them he had conducted his own research, and also found that the city in old times had been known for rebellion and sedition. He therefore gave an order that the work should cease and the city should not be built until further directives. The work of the building thus ceased in the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

What happened next after this? We will soon discover!

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Laying The Foundations of The Temple

Ezra 3:1-13

Today, the people who returned to Jerusalem started the work of the temple.  Firstly, Jeshua and the other priests reestablished the altar of God, and started offering burnt offerings as directed in the law of Moses.They also kept the feast of tabernacles, offered the daily offerings, as the duty of everyday required.

The next stage was the laying of the foundations of the temple. Those who returned gave money to support the work of the workmen. Meat drink, and oil were also given out to those who brought the cedar trees needed from Lebanon. By the second year of their return to Jerusalem, Zerubabel and Jeshua with their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that came from captivity set to work on the house of God.

When the had builders laid the foundations of the temple, the priests were set in their apparel with trumpets, Levites with cymbals, and they all sang praises unto God for His mercies. All the people shouted and rejoiced loudly. The older generation of fathers and priests who had seen the initial temple, however wept when they saw the new one, such that there was an loud mixture of both joy and weeping, very difficult to distinguish.

The most important thing, apart from the beauty of the new foundations or otherwise, is the fact that God restored his people to their land, and they are able to restart their life of worship as his people. The temple is central to israel’s life, and laying its foundation again was something to rejoice about and celebrate.


What new foundations do you need to re-establish with God? Do so today, and there would be rejoicing!

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Those Who Returned to Jerusalem

Ezra 2:1-70

In today’s passage, we were provided a list and number of the people who returned to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild God‘s house. The people were listed according to their families, and also their belongings were also highlighted – servants, maids, horses, mules, camels and asses.

The most notable of all however is the willingness of the chief of the fathers to offer freely unto God in order to ensure the house of God was set up in place. They all gave of their ability, gold, silver and priest garments.

As we continue we would see how the people were able to rebuild as God restored them back into their land.

Some verses to remember

68-69:  And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments.

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Cyrus Initiates Restoration

Ezra 1:1-11

God is a faithful God. He is also very merciful. As we saw today, he brought to past the promise he made to restore his people, through a prophecy made by Jeremiah the prophet.

The people had been taken captive to Babylon, with Jerusalem and the temple destroyed because of the sins of Israel and their kings, it seemed everything was over. However, God stirred the heart of a heathen king – Cyrus, who was declared as having authority from God over the kingdoms of the earth, to build the temple at Jerusalem in Judah.

Cyrus asked of the people who would be willing to go to Jerusalem to execute the mandate of rebuilding the temple, and even charged those not going to support the people going with the resources that would be needed – silver, gold and other offerings. The chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites, with all others whose spirits God had raised arose to go and rebuild the house of the Lord.Cyrus also restored some of the treasures that had been taken away from the temple by Nebuchadnezzar.

We must learn to know that God works through diverse means. He gives authority to whom he wills, and he could use any man to execute his plan and will. Do not be discouraged by the turn of events, for even through the darkest night, God’s light could still shine through, even from odd places. Trust Him!


Hezekiah Cleanses The Temple

2 Chr 29:1- 36

Hezekiah began to reign as king in place of Ahaz his father, at the age of twenty five. Unlike his father, Hezekiah had a heart and passion for God.

From the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. He also called all the priests together and told them to sanctify themselves first, and then the house of the Lord. The temple was already at this time filled with much filth from the previous generation. The temple worship had been abandoned, the doors shut, no incense burnt, and no offerings made to God. These were the things Hezekiah was set to change.

So the priests, having been charged by Hezekiah, cleanse themselves first and then went to work and cleansed up the whole temple within eight days, bringing out every filth and uncleanness found. They finished the whole work by the sixteenth day, and reported to Hezekiah.

After the cleansing of the priests and the temple, Hezekiah moved on to the leaders and the whole nation. He rallied everyone together and both sins offerings and burnt offerings were offered to God for the whole land. What a king!

When people set their hearts on God, many things are possible. A whole nation, a whole people could be cleansed when a single man makes himself available for God’s purpose. Will you be that man?

Some verses to remember

vs 2-3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.
He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them.

15 And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD.

28  And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

35 And also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings, and the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the LORD was set in order.

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