I begin by stating that this is a very special word. I will perhaps explain the reason behind this message in another blog post. I hope you will be blessed as this message is not only timely but powerful ❤️
The Israelite’s were in Babylonian captivity for 70 years. During this time, the Israelite’s were complacent and had become accustomed to their way of life there. When King Cyrus gave the decree, only a handful of Israelite’s (the remnant) accepted the call to leave and go back and rebuild the temple.
When I heard this word, I paralleled it to today. How many people are living in complacency with their circumstances? The complacency has made people remain in a place that they weren’t destined to remain at. This may be a job, a toxic relationship, etc. Even when God provides an opportunity for escape, people decide to remain behind in Babylon (exiled to their circumstances).
Once the Israelites (remnant) arrived in Jerusalem, lots of things happened. Again, you will see many parallels in today’s world. Specifically, I think this word is relevant to the remnant as they pursue what God has destined for them (in their calling).
Here are my key learnings from this story:
Praise & Worship
Ezra 3:10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
The Israelites built an altar even before laying the foundation. And once they did build the foundation, they began to worship the Lord! In 2020 and beyond, praise and worship will have to be an integral part of our lives as we pursue our calling.
Ezra 4:5-6 They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia. At the beginning of the reign of Xerxes,[b] they lodged an accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
When the Israelites started to build the temple, they faced intense opposition. Beloved, this 2020 & beyond, you may face opposition along the way. Even so, remember that God is faithful, and he will be faithful to complete the good work that he has started in you!
God is doing a new thing!
Ezra 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice
When Zerubbabel started laying the Foundation, people who had previously seen the magnificence of Solomon’s temple started crying. They wept with a loud voice. They questioned how the temple was being built.
This 2020 & beyond, we shouldn’t be discouraged if people oppose and critic what we are doing. We need to understand that God is doing a new thing. It is entirely different and perhaps something that hasn’t been done before. Don’t compare yourself with others! Instead, walk with confidence into your calling.
Be careful of the company you keep!
But Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.”
Remember, not everyone is meant to partner with you to execute your calling! In this verse, we see Zerubbabel declining assistance from some people. Later in the passage, we learn that these people didn’t have good intentions as they wanted to frustrate and discourage them.
Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
The Holy Spirit has to be in the heart of everything you do. Seek counsel and know that to fulfill whatever God has for you, you can’t do it with your strength.
The Lord is with you
Haggai 2:4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts:
Even when things seem difficult, know that the Lord is always with you. In Haggai, we see that God reassured Zerubbabel that he would be with him through it.
My question to you– are you part of the remnant that is boldly going to move forward? Are you part of the remnant that refuses to remain in exile and stagnation?
If you are part of the remnant, I pray that the Lord goes before you and may victory be achieved- To the glory of our Lord.
Cheers to 2020 and beyond!