But Then…

If you haven’t taken the time, read the book of Ezra.  Ezra records the return of certain exiles and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.  The Israelites are excited to get started and are supported by resources from the Persian king Cyrus.  But then.

Then a new king reigns.  Then adversaries rise up and cause trouble.  Then a letter is written to the new king demanding that the work be stopped.  Then untruths are included in the letter.  And the king issues a decree demanding the building of God’s house be ceased.

Enter a leader named Zarubabbel.  He’s intent on following God’s directives, despite what any earthly king says.  He’s all about glorifying God.  If you read the text, his passion for God’s will will jump off of the pages.  As the adversaries inquire of who gave him permission to begin rebuilding again,  Zarubabbel reminds them of the original decree (Cyrus) and more importantly of God’s will.  A third king (Darius) is consulted and upon finding Cyrus’ decree, allows the temple to be completed.

As I was reading the text, I was reminded of Peter and John in Acts.  You remember.  They were told to cease from speaking about Jesus.  He was gone.  The religious powers wanted to retain their power.  And speaking of Jesus was causing turmoil.  Peter and John must desist.  It was time to fade away and never to be heard from again.  As the text says (Acts 4:2), the Saducees were greatly annoyed, arrested them, and eventually told them to shut up.

But then.  Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then Peter and John spoke boldly.  Then the two did what God wanted rather than what man wanted.  Then God protected them from the Saducees and they worshipped.  Then the place where they were was shaken.

When God calls us to follow His will, He doesn’t eliminate struggles.  Read that again!

Too often, we perceive challenges as “I must be outside God’s will.”  But that’s not always the case.  If Zarubabbel would have followed man’s directives and waited on the new king to issue a decree, chances are it would have never been done.  The temple wouldn’t have been finished.  If Peter and John would have listened to the Sanhedrin, they wouldn’t have seen God move and eventually the entire place be shaken.  Despite the circumstances, Zarubabbel, Peter, and John had an enormous faith.

I’m convinced God wants a modern-day Zarubabbel who stands up to do what’s right.  One who serves the people of God.  A leader.  One involved in ministry work.  One who won’t take “no” for an answer.

I’m convinced God wants modern-day Petes and Johns.  People who declare truth regardless of perception.  People who know because they’ve been with God.  Sure, there’s circumstances that come our way.  But then.

And when these things happen, the entire place with be shaken.  And God will be glorified.  Lord, may it be as you have said!

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2 Responses to “But Then…”

  1. Yes, I just finished Ezra and Nehemiah in my listening to “the Bible Experience.” Very devoted people to God’s will. Interesting all the obstacles Nehemiah faced right to the end of the book. Good thoughts here, nmpreach! Good reminders for our faith.

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