Talks for Growing Christians
Work Finally Begins on the Temple, and Opposition Continues
Lesson Number 5
- The teaching of the word will motivate God’s people. Ezra 5:1-2
- The tactics of the enemy should challenge God’s people. Ezra 5:3-13
- Remember, God is in control of the opposition.
- The Lord’s new rebuilt temple is sometimes called ____________ ______.
- In 538 B.C., how many Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon? Under whose leadership did they return?
- The foundation for the new temple was laid in 535 B.C., but the work was delayed for fifteen years, all the way down to 520 B.C. Why was the work delayed?
- It was during the reign of Darius l of Persia that God graciously raised up two prophets. Who were these prophets, and what was the result of their ministry?
- What was the content of the ministry of each of these prophets?
- Zerubbabel’s Temple.
- About 50,000 returned under the leadership of Zerubbabel.
- Because of opposition from the surrounding foreign peoples and because of discouragement and apathy from within..
- The prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. As a result of their ministries God’s people were motivated to do the work of the Lord, and the rebuilt temple was completed.
- Haggai exhorted the people based on God’s word. Zechariah gave encouragement to the people based on God’s word.
- The teaching of God’s word will motivate God’s people. Haggai gave a series of fiery sermonettes based on God’s word, exhorting the people to do the work of the Lord. Zechariah gave a series of visions encouraging the people to do the work of the Lord. Exhortation and encouragement from the word of the Lord are both needed to motivate God’s people – then and today.
“Is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses, and the temple of the Lord to lie in ruins? Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:4-5). This is an example of Haggai’s ministry, and it is just as convicting today as it was then. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ says the Lord. The Lord will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 2:10-12). This is an example of Zechariah’s ministry, a great encouragement to His people. God would dwell in their midst. The word of the Lord has promises considering the glorious future of His people. Are you both convicted and encouraged by the word of the Lord? A steady diet of expository ministry from the word of God is the key to the best kind of church (and individual) growth. Be diligent in availing yourself to such a diet.
- Persian officials challenged and opposed God’s people during the rebuilding of the Lord’s Temple. Both challenge and opposition to the Lord’s work and to the Lord’s people should be considered as an opportunity to witness for the Lord. When such a witness is based on a presentation of the true God, the opposition cannot deny the fact that God blesses His people and they are committed to His work.
This witness was true then, and it is true today. God’s people in the days of Ezra used challenges from the opposition as opportunities to witness for the Lord God. Paul used challenges from the opposition to witness for the Lord. (See 1 Corinthians 16:9). See also Paul’s witness before Felix, Festus and King Agrippa (Acts 25, 26, 28). Note also the response to Paul’s witness by these persons. Is your faith being challenged right now by the opposition? Use it as an opportunity to share your faith!
- Although Satan tries, he cannot make God’s work cease. Why? Because God is in control of the opposition. “No temptation (testing) has overtaken you…but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able…” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Aren’t you thankful that God has His eye on you, even as He did those in Ezra’s day? (Ezra 5:5) Are you continuing faithful in the work that God has for you to do?
- “The prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them.” Ezra 5:1
- “…the leaders and the people rose up and began to build the house of God…and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.” Ezra 5:2
- “…the opposition challenged them.” Ezra 5:3
- “But the eye of their God was upon them…” Ezra 5:5