Ezra 5:1-2 Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel andJeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
Israel made a real mess of a good thing. Living in the promised land they turned their backs on God, chase after their own desires, ignored repeated warnings and ended up in captivity to the Babylonians. Fast forward fifty years and they are on their way back to the promised land to rebuild the temple but like most people they got off to a great start but quickly faded. Seventeen years later they are still living in the ruble.
Our lives can run a similar path but how do we rebuild after everything has been ruined. Ezra chapter five and six gives us some three steps and a surprising result.
- Listen to God Speak: God had to send the prophet Haggai to the Israelites to give them a wake up call.He had to remind them what they were there for. Has God been telling you for awhile it is time to get up from your mess and get going? Is that voice inside of you been bugging you to make a change? Have you been hearing from others that you are not on the right path? If so it may be time to listen to what God is trying to tell you. Many people don’t rebuild a ruined life because they never get up and start building. They keep hearing that they should but for whatever reason they sit in their squalor and feel sorry for themselves. God never intended for us to live that way. Instead He wants to rebuild a much better life for us. Listen to the voice and get up and start to rebuild your life.
- Be Diligent: Rome wasn’t created in a day. I know that is a tired maxim but there is truth in it. If we want to rebuild our ruined life then we need to be diligent about it. Diligent means to be faithful and committed to something on a day by day basis. Once the Jews got to work on the temple they were diligent and didn’t get distracted. Rebuilding takes diligence. That doesn’t mean steps in leaps and bounds but instead small incremental steps. The Jews started the temple in the first year of King Dairus’ reign. They finished it in the six year of his reign. Six years of diligence produced a rebuilt temple. We need to take a long term perspective when it comes to rebuilding. There is no quick fix but instead day in day out diligence.
- Whatever is Needed: Here is the cool part! If we are listening to God and be diligent in His plan to rebuild our lives He will give us whatever is needed. The governor is region opposed the Jews rebuilding the temple but when he made a plea to Darius he was told to let them rebuild and moreover give them whatever is needed (Ezra 6:1-9). When we commit to God’s plan for our lives and stick to it He provides whatever is needed. The funny thing is that he will often produce it in the most interesting places. Darius made the governor who opposed to Jews pay for the costs of the construction. Never doubt how and who God will work though. Trust him through it all and watch what He brings about.
- Discover Joy: There is a byproduct of all this. When we respond to God speaking to us, remain faithful through it, watch Him provide for it, it produces Joy in our lives. After the Jews completed the rebuilding of the temple they celebrated and were full of Joy. We must remember that Joy is the fruit of God working out our faith. If we give up we miss out on what most of us are craving…Joy.