As we continue with our study of the Book of Ezra we see, even in times past, like we experience now, the enemy sometimes seems to accomplish his purpose in spite of our best efforts. In the case of the exiles, they brought old accusations against them and the rebuilding of the Temple stopped for 16 years. You can imagine how discouraged they must have felt. Many of us can identify with this feeling, you feel so alone and unloved and start to question God and where He is in all you are going through. But thank God for the Bible and the fact that we can find encouragement through its pages, knowing if we put our plans in God’s hands, He will guide our future and see us through to a victorious end as He did the exiles in the time of Ezra. A setback does not mean failure or the end of the story, it is a time to wait on the Lord, reflect on His promises and give thanks knowing He who holds our past, present and future will see us through. He never failed in the past; He cannot begin to fail now.

As we read these two chapters we find renewed hope and discover, God always has a plan and even when things look bad, we must trust His plan to work out for our good. In chapter 5 we are told the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the Jews and Zerubbabel responded by starting again to rebuild the Temple. At that time, they did not carry the Spirit of God in them as we do now and had to wait for God to speak through Prophets to them. It is noteworthy that even though the orders from King Artaxerxes were still in place for them to stop the rebuilding of the Temple, immediately after they had a go ahead from God they started again.

They knew God would watch over them and were not afraid of the authorities. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they were ready to die than disobey God (Daniel 3:16-18). When the government officials heard they had started rebuilding the temple again they came and asked who gave them permission to start rebuilding and the answer the returning Jews gave recorded in Ezra 5:13-16 probably made the officials too scared to tell them to stop the work which was within their rights to do as there was already an order in place to stop them from rebuilding, but instead they left them alone to continue rebuilding and sent a letter to King Darius telling him about it and asking for confirmation on what to do. The exiles boldly declared, they were the servants of the God of heaven and earth in the presence of their enemies and continued the rebuilding of the Temple.

With God all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them, not only did King Darius reply back saying the work should continue, he instructed the full construction cost must be paid without delay from taxes collected in the province so the work will not be interrupted, all animals and any other thing needed must be given to the Jews to enable them offer acceptable sacrifices to their God and all government officials should not disturb the construction of the Temple of God. He placed a grave punishment and curse on anyone, king or nation who violated his decree. What the enemy planned for the disgrace of God’s people turned to be something that brought great honour to them and great celebration of what God had done. The temple was built and dedicated with the enemy bearing all the cost.

I do not know what the enemy is taunting you with today, have faith in the God you serve and remember you are His covenant child. You are not a servant but a child of God, so keep your chin up and your head held high, knowing your Father still has a lot of moves to make to bring you to that expected end, shaming the enemy and glorifying His Holy name in the mighty name of Jesus (Amen)