|Posted by Lorraine Serra on October 12, 2010 at 6:41 AM|
I know it seems crazy to announce a study in Haggai, yet spend so much time in Ezra!
But, as we will see, God's word is interwoven by the accounts of the people He inspired to be leaders and historians. In the wide angle view of the Bible, we see in countless places the promised coming of Jesus and the blessed Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, then we see them revealed in the New Testament. The entire Bible is God's story of love, patience, mercy, correction, forgiveness and restoration. It is HISstory, God with us.
So, today another quick look at Ezra and the back story for Haggai. I invite everyone to comment and /or respond to the questions I've posted.
Ezra documents an 80 year period of time. We note that King Cyrus "blessed" and thanked the God of Israel for all the kingdoms he had been given. Isn't that something? Cyrus didn't even know God....but he knew all about God. He had witnessed God's power in action, and so acknowledged Him. I imagine any good king would honor another king, just as today any head of state shows respect to another.
But, Cyrus went further in ordering the Jews to get back home, Those who weren't willing or able to go were ordered to contribute financially to the temple project and it appears everyone gave sacrificially and generously. Every Jew and even non-Jews became invested in God's command.
The listings of all the treasures, people and animals that prepared for the journey amazes me. These details convict my heart of the accuracy of God's word. Why would it matter how many donkeys or gold bowls went? God is in the details.
Why else would we read that each one needed to prove their ancestry? Praise God, He is in the details and remembers His own. Nobody would make up this stuff!
For my dear brothers and sisters who feel like they are in exile right now in life due to unemployment, or sickness, or broken relationships....take heart. God is in the details as you seek Him and honor Him. Look, see, even the treasures from the temple were reserved and preserved for the time of restoration. You are worth so much more than that to God, your heavenly Father. You are His precious treasure and He will not abandon you.
Arriving back in Jerusalem, the Jews had much to do. But, what did they do first?
I marveled at how urgently the priests directed the building of a foundation for an altar!
Imagine how costly all those sacrifices and free-will offerings were to this fledgling band of people working to rebuild their lives.
Though they were "back home", the surroundings had changed, and the current inhabitants might not appreciate their arrival. No doubt, some of them remembered the former splendor and power of Jerusalem and its kings and resented it.
Here is a lesson for us. Worship God anyway, all the time. He is worthy of all honor and praise whether from a quickly built altar, or a fabulous temple; whether in glorious choral celebrations or a single voice alone at home.
Worship is a matter of the heart, mind and will. It is our personal connection with our Heavenly King. If there is a reason for fear, it is better to be connected to God, our Savior and our Friend.
We see opposition arise from the "people of the land". Ah, the age old battle of good against evil. The enemies of God still like to distract, dissuade and block the godly in their pursuits.
Who are these "People of the land"? See if you can find out anything about them.
So, God uses 3 pagan kings, Cyrus, Darious and Artexerxes to finance and oversee the rebuilding of the temple. I believe they did it more out of fear of the God of Israel and for self-preservation. Whatever their motives, God used it all to further His purposes.
Often God uses the most unexpected people and events to bring good into our lives, even if it is painful to begin with, or beyond our understanding in that moment.
How about in your life? Anybody want to share a time when you saw God's hand of providence and protection at work in your life?
I look forward to your comments and to praising God with you for all His detailed marvelous works!!
Blessings to all!
Categories: HAGGAI STUDY