The reading of Ezra chapter 4 vs 1(NLT) could leave one wandering why and how a set of persons who have been termed “enemies of Judah and Benjamin” could think, expect, to be allowed to partake in the building of the Temple of the Lord God of said opponents in Zerubbabel’s days. Until the next verse steps up and you begin to understand the platform on which such persons derived their confidence and the basis for which they put forward their suggestion.
Verse one states that the enemies of Judah and Benjamin “heard”. It is the information they received that prompted the line of action that they took. They heard that there was a building project going on and then took action.
The way we go about our daily lives sometimes without the awareness that there are things said and heard and that these things spoken have to be heard by at least those that have ears and are within earshot of us. But that most importantly, every hearing could or should result in a corresponding action or inaction that could have temporal and or eternal consequences on us.
What are we predominantly speaking of/about? Concerning ourselves, our families, spouses, children, work of our hands etc. The Bible states in Psalms 19 vs 2 that day unto day uttereth speech….
Also Proverbs chapter 6 vs 2 informs us that we are snared by the words of our mouth. This should encourage us to become conscious of what we say, how we say them and whom we say them to. Let’s ensure that we are giving out information that is proper as becometh children of God or at least the one we want to be out there.
Verse two states that they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said the following important statements:
1. Let us build with you.
2. For we worship your God just as you do.
3. We have sacrificed to Him ever since….
Statement one– let us build with you:
In the first chapter of the book of Ezra in the third verse we would read the words of King Cyrus whom the Lord had stirred his heart in fulfilment of the prophesy given through Jeremiah concerning this building project, and the category of people who were to be involved in the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem-
“Any of you who are His people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild the Temple of the Lord”
This proclamation was put in writing and sent through out the Kingdom of Persia. So apart from the Israelites, a lot of people would have heard of the proclamation from the King and those to whom it pertained. Yet these set of individuals still found it appropriate to offer assistance toward a project they should have had nothing to do with except maybe contribute towards the expenses incurred by the Jews during the project!
The Word of God spoken to us by His Spirit, or that which was made alive as we studied God’s Word, or the Word of God we have perhaps received from persons God placed in our lives as overseers, will always be questioned, challenged tried or distorted by the enemy.
We have too many instances in the Bible to serve as example. So it is not enough to receive a word from the Lord, it is important that we know it for ourselves completely and believe it thoroughly to enable us stand by it no matter what! As long as we have confirmation that this word is from God let’s go ahead and run with it. Unless like Eve, we end up being deceived by the very words that was supposed to rescue us in the first place.
Statement number two: for we worship your God just as you do…
If there ever was a statement that showed the detachment of the speaker from the activity or statement this is it. These people did not have a personal, experiential knowledge and relationship with the God of whom they speak of. We worship “your” God, as “you” do.
It will not be overstating it at this time If I say that we all need a continuous, growing relationship with God. One that causes us to bow in worship and adoration of the One we have come to know and love and not depend on the way “they” do what “they” do to “their” God!
We should not only depend on the referencing from others when it comes to the Worship of YHWH. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit should be our standpoint and foundation as we develop and grow in God. Whatever others say should be tested and checked out in the Word of God as the Bible promptly warns, test all spirits including ours!
Statement three: we have sacrificed to Him ever since…. This statement almost begins to sound like one of those “do you know how long I have been doing this work” kind of talk.
The rituals of doing the work of God can be both occupying and distracting. The fact that we are constantly engaged in the work of God does not mean we are pleasing God. Let’s not just be caught up with the rigors of external “worship” while our daily lives are far from what God expects from us. God will not lower His standard because we were “busy” doing the work? Our lives have to be lively stones, ignited by His Spirit and meet for His use. So that at the end of the day we do not hear “depart from me”.
From Zerubbabel’s reply: “you may have no part in this work” one would come to the conclusion that he and the leaders with him had a proper knowledge of what God had said concerning the work they were carrying out and they went ahead to state the obvious how be it politely! He was able to spot the difference in these ones and wasted no time in dealing with the situation. “You may not be a part of this work” period.
We should not be too quick and eager to accept every “help” that presents itself or comes our way, no matter how good and tempting it may seem. We should ask ourselves some very pertinent questions: is this of God, does it conform to the word of God? I’m I going/supposed to be yoked together with these? And the likes. I understand the need to want to do a two, three step in praise and worship due to the testimony time, blessing time, but it’s best to be safe than sorry. Just because it looks good does not necessarily mean it is good. Well, good according to whom???.
The immediate response to Zerubbabel’s refusal of their help only confirmed to the children of God that these ones were enemies indeed! Because we refuse someone’s help, should they now make it their life’s ambition to frustrate the work you are involved in? The same work they were so eager to be a part of in the first place? This is very instructive! Imagine if they had accepted the said help, what would have become of the project?!!!
Let’s test every spirit before we entangle and entwine ourselves in relationships that would destroy us and ultimately derail us from Heaven.
Not all that glitter be of God!
Live, Love, Learn, and Grow!