Reading: Ezra 4-6
Summary: The work of the Jews-returned-to-Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel was not without opposition. As a matter of fact, their efforts were legally stopped based on complaints sent back to the king of Persia.
Eventually, the original decree of King Cyrus was located and the work was allowed to resume. But, the delay had lulled the people into inactivity and the efforts of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (June 15-17 readings) were enlisted to motivate them to focus their efforts on God’s house.
Finishing a task can, at times, be challenging—even when we consider it a God-given, noble and necessary endeavor.
Such was the building of the temple following Babylonian captivity. What better, God-centered, and more important project could be undertaken? Yet, it almost didn’t get finished. Opponents armed with legal verdicts brought work to a halt. Time-consuming correspondence finally cleared up the legalities, but during the long delay, enthusiasm waned. God intervened with prophets to re-energize the people to get the ball rolling again. Finally, the temple was completed.
Just because what we’re doing is good and right and necessary and even at God’s behest, doesn’t guarantee unhindered, smooth, and enthusiastic progress. We may experience times of great progress, frustrating delays, opposition, movement by fits and starts, the need for outside intervention to reorient priorities and provide motivation.
Whatever! Keep moving forward. Don’t quit. Don’t give up.
Maybe it’s time to refocus, regroup, and begin again. Troubles and challenges and obstacles along the way do not mean this isn’t what needs to be done. Otherwise, God’s temple would have never been rebuilt.