Monday, September 9, 2019

Ezra Bible Study - Verified: God is Working

Have you ever felt like you're not where you're supposed to be? While following God's plan for your life, there are bumps and hurdles along the way, but you persist. When you look back, you see that God's hand was evident, but amidst the bumps and obstacles, there are questions. You wonder if you should be doing what you're doing and struggle with continuing. I think they call this impostor syndrome which is a psychological pattern or a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success, usually marked by doubt.

In Ezra 6, the exiles had a similar experience. Though they were granted freedom by King
Cyrus, they encountered continuous opposition to their rebuilding efforts. Resistance was so strong that they relied on prophetic encouragement. What did any of them know about construction, let alone rebuilding a temple? But God used a second King, Darius to reconfirm what he told Cyrus. In painstaking detail, Darius researched then verified the truth of God's word. Once he knew, he ensured that everyone who needed to hear knew also. With his authority as king, he decreed the continuation and progress of the second temple. The temple was started in the second year of Darius' reign and completed in the sixth year. Overall the completion of the temple took approximately five years; a long time to us, but no time in God's eyes.

It took effort to find the scrolls (maybe Darius wanted to ensure he was on the right side of history - never easy), but Darius and his men were diligent in searching and found them in a remote city called Achmetha. Cyrus held his court at Achmetha; and Ezra, writing a century after, correctly mentions the place where the decree of Cyrus was found. While they searched the exiles built; they kept going not knowing the immediate outcome yet knowing God's command. Once King Darius read the decree in Ezra 6:3-5 verifying the proclamation, he sends Tattenai - a governor to deliver his emphatic message: "Let the work continue; I'll finance all expenses needed to complete the temple; (Ezra 6: 8,9); the exiles can worship God; those who attempt to change my decree or stop the work will face destruction.(Ezra 6:11,12)." Look at God - when he comes through, all doubts are removed. He can verify what He said!

Tattenai then ensures that Darius' decree is carried out. Remember, Tattenai initially questioned the rebuilding efforts while allowing the exiles to work as he investigated. He went looking for trouble and found nothing. In the end, Tattenai complied with the King's decree. How's that for a change of heart?  

Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai, and your colleagues and other officials west of the Euphrates River—stay away from there! Do not disturb the construction of the Temple of God. Let it be rebuilt on its original site, and do not hinder the governor of Judah and the elders of the Jews in their work.“Moreover, I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God (Ezra 6:6-8). Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues complied at once with the command of King Darius (Ezra 6:13)

Now the exiles can continue their work without any further hiccups with the financial support of king Darius. In hindsight, we see that they overcame all the hurdles in their path with God's help. He sent the right people to provide provision and encouragement.
So the Jewish elders continued their work, and they were greatly encouraged by the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. The Temple was finally finished, as had been commanded by the God of Israel and decreed by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the kings of Persia. 15 The Temple was completed on March 12, during the sixth year of King Darius’s reign (Ezra 6:14,15).

Reflections - If God called you to it, you belong - no imposters in the kingdom. He'll use unlikely people to validate and verify what he has called you to and your enemies just may become your supporters. Persist; keep going if God is guiding you because the power of God is evident in your life. Great rejoicing will happen when the work is completed. Enjoy it for the moment, but there's more work to be done. These days, it means something when you're verified on social media; a celebrity will get the coveted green checkmark because they've provided proof of their identity. Verification is not for the rank and file but for those considered important. But God is saying, I am who I say I am and you can hold on to that with your life. Just like Darius verified Cyrus proclamation, God's word shows who He is by his works. I am who I say I am (John 14:11).

Prayer - Dear Lord, I thank you that You are who You say You are. You are God; you're the beginning and the end; you're omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. You're everything. You are real, and you do not contradict yourself. Thank you that because of your great love, we can hold on to the power that is in You and through You. This power gives us the strength to rebuild and walk confidently on the path that you have for us. Lord, you have shown us over and over again that you are God and that we can walk worthily in our calling (Ephesians 4:1). Thank you, Lord, for your veracity, authenticity, and power. Amen.


Resources:
Gotquestions.org
Logos Bible Software
Scofield Reference Bible
Bible Gateway
Bible Study Tools


--Nylse

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8 comments:

  1. I love the Old Testament! It is so comforting as we relate to their events and trials. One of the best lessons for me is to remember that opposition is normal and should be expected, even when we know full well God’s direction and provision. Thanks for sharing your insight!

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  2. I love the intricacies of your writing. The way you you're able to bring everything together is wonderful... Lovely article

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  3. 'No imposters in the kingdom.'

    Amen, Nylse. So good to meet you here today ...

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  4. This is so encouraging to me, Nylse, right now at this very moment as I'm working on a project that seems too big for me.
    Blessings to you as you continue to share God's truth.

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  5. Nylse, thank you for this comprehensive post on Ezra. I love that book. Those people! Wow! What a struggle! There's a lot to learn there. God uses unlikely people in unlikely places!

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

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  6. I understand completely the imposter syndrome, feeling inadequate or unworthy but mostly it is the other way around if you are not living as who wants you be it is like living a lie. Ezra is still on my to do list.

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  7. Thank you for this, Nylse. I'm so glad there are no imposters in heaven, that God is who He says He is, and we can stand on His word. So much good news here!
    Blessings to you.

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  8. Awesome! What a great teaching! Thanks so much for sharing this.

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