Ezra 5:6-17 – A Spy’s Report

Read Ezra 5:6-17

The saga of the temple’s construction continues. We met Tattenai, the provincial governor, in our last reading. Apparently, he is so troubled by seeing this temple rebuilt that he started interrogating the workers to find out who was in charge. After all, this is a building project he believes is under his jurisdiction, shouldn’t he be able to question it?

This governor seems to be more like an undercover spy looking for a scoop. He took the intel he received from the construction leaders and sent a letter to King Darius. I wonder what Tattenai is afraid of. Perhaps he’ll lose the favor of King Darius should there be a rebellion. Of course, it will take a while for Jerusalem to be rebuilt to its glory and power of the past.

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Ezra 5:1-5 – Questioning Your Motives

Read Ezra 5:1-5

I’ve reflected on the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah before in the book of the 12 Prophets. These prophets of God spoke encouragement to those charged with rebuilding the temple of the Lord. Haggai, especially, is a hidden gem filled with all sorts of encouragement we can apply today.

We’re seeing how this rebuilding project is getting a lot of attention from the enemies of God. But God ordained this work, so I’m confident he won’t let it fail.  In today’s reading, Tattenai, governor of the province Jerusalem is part of, attempts to distract the people so they question their motives. We can be thankful the people had prophets like Haggai and Zechariah to keep them grounded and devoted to God’s purpose.

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Ezra 4:6-24 – More Opposition

Read Ezra 4:6-24

It’s not often we read a letter exchange like this in Scripture. Sure, the apostle Paul wrote letters in the New Testament, but they comprised whole books of their own. These letters are nothing like those because they are full of nonsense and devoid of facts. The purpose of these letters is to upset the King and drive a wedge between him and the people rebuilding the temple.

These attempts to sabotage God’s kingdom purposes in rebuilding the temple are blatant and mean. I find myself getting a bit defensive on behalf of God’s people. Did you? Will such an exaggeration go unpunished?

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Ezra 4:1-5 – Stay on Track

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Can our enemies also worship our God? That’s a good question. Maybe we should explore what makes someone our enemy? For me, it would be anyone who doesn’t believe as I do who is trying to harm me or distract me from my mission. With that understanding, I don’t think my enemies would be Christians who love Jesus.

The enemies discussed in our reading were giving good “lip service” to those working on the temple. Their attempts to trick the workers in believing they could also be worshiping the LORD failed. The help they offered as a lure was also rejected.

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Ezra 3:7-13 – Let the Rebuilding Begin!

Read Ezra 3:7-13

Have you ever been part of a building project? Maybe you built your own home or worked for a company that broke ground for a new office complex. Interestingly, my husband David and I have been part of three huge building projects for three different congregations during his time of ministry in the United States. Now, I’m part of another large building project here in Mexico for the orphanage where I serve.

Construction projects take time and lots of planning. The coordination that goes into each facet of the design and implementation still boggles my mind. It’s with this background that I come to this text. If you’ve never been involved in any construction, suffice it to say that it’s a big deal. I can’t imagine what it would have been like in ancient times without all the conveniences we now have.

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