Go and Build!

burmese-people-after-cyclone_0It was an amazing command. It was a command from the king. A command to “Go and Build”.

Cyrus had just begun to reign, when he gave the command to the people of God to “go up…and build.”(Ezra1:3) And whoever didn’t go was commanded to support those who went with silver, gold, goods, and with beasts, besides the freewill offering! (:4) Relax, this isn’t an article asking for support …. I just thought that part was worth mentioning. Let’s move on, shall we?

Two men took the lead, Sheshbazaar, (Zerubbabel’s Chaldean name, appointed governor over the Jews), and Jeshua (Joshua, the first high priest after the captivity, son of Jozadak).

In Ezra 3 we see the commitment of these two. They took the lead in building the altar of God and offered burnt offerings both mornings and evenings. They had the people keep the Feast of Tabernacles, and they offered sacrifices continually. They also distributed necessary things to the workers, and made an agreement with Tyre and Sidon to bring cedar trees from Lebanon. In the second year everything was ready to begin the building project, and they appointed the Levites to begin the work. When the foundation was finished they had the priests bring out the trumpets and the cymbals and lead out in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD.

In Chapter 4 we read about the opposition they faced. This opposition suggested a compromise of working together, they weakened their hands, troubled them in building, hired counselors against them, frustrated their purpose and wrote accusations about them. Until finally, after working on the temple for 12 years, the work came to a halt.

In Ezra 5 Haggai the prophet comes along and prophesies unto the Jews, and once again Zerubbabel and Jeshua rise up and take the lead in the building project. But just what did Haggai prophesy, and in what condition did he fi nd these two men? We can find our answer in the Book of Haggai.

In Haggai 1:1 we see that the prophecy was directly to Zerubbabel and Joshua. First he rebuked them for saying that the time hasn’t come to build the LORD’s house, that it just isn’t a good time to do it. He also rebukes them for their comfortable life styles, their comfortable “ceiled” homes, for eating and drinking and not being satisfied, and for spending their money as fast as they were earning it. Sound familiar? Twice Haggai tells them to “consider your ways.”

Whether you live in America or Thailand, we are surrounded with great needs. People are searching for answers due to cyclones and tornadoes, earthquakes and flooding. Yet, how many of us dwell in our “ceiled” houses, and say, “It is just not a good time for me to get involved.”? We have become so far removed from “the work” that we wouldn’t know where to start in the first place.

We have been given a command from the King of Kings to “go and build.” For centuries the work has met with opposition. Would Haggai find you building regardless of the opposition, or would he find you dwelling in comfort, eating, drinking and spending. What could God accomplish if each one reading this newsletter would “rise up” and respond like Zerubbabel and Joshua?

I believe God would have us “consider our ways.” What is your response?

By Collier Berkshire, IGo Pastor in Residence (I Witness News/Summer 2008)

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