30
Aug
11

Those Opposed To The Lord Try To Deceive

Now that the men of Judah have rebuilt the temple, it is time for them to begin using it again.

When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled as one man in Jerusalem.  Then Jeshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.  Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening sacrifices.  — Ezra 3:1-3

“Despite their fear”?  Why were the surrounding nations worried about the rebuilding of the altar and its use?  Do they feel threatened because they remember the great success that the people of Judah had in battle when their God was with them?

It must have been a very big deal for the surrounding peoples – notice how much effort they went to in order to discourage the Israelite people from their rebuilding efforts.

When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the LORD, the God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.”

But Zerubbabel, Jeshua 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.”

Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.  They hired counselors 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.  — Ezra 4:1-4

In my thinking, that was a lot of effort to expend in order to keep the people from worshiping the Lord.  Surely God’s blessing and power was evident to all when His people dedicated themselves to His service!

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