Reading Ezra, I was getting confused on the kings. Here’s the order. King Cyrus sent the Jews to rebuild their temple. Another king comes after him and orders the work to stop. Then Darius becomes king, and, eventually, the work will resume.
Let’s look at the enemy’s tactics. One thing we notice is that they are full of lies. There are several lies throughout.
First, the people opposing the building of the temple try to join the work. They lie and say they worship the Lord. The people discern this isn’t the Lord sending them help.
These people said that they had been sacrificing to God, but there was no temple or priests to do it as the Lord prescribed. There was no way they were honoring God in what they were doing.
Now, I don’t think they were really trying to worship and sacrifice to the God of Israel. But remember, there were times in Israel’s history when they said they were worshiping God when they weren’t at all, like the golden calf incident. Saying you’re a worshiper of God doesn’t make you so. Lord, give us discernment and help us to trust the signs You let us see.
Then the opposers work to discourage them and make them afraid. These go together. Dis-courage— it’s fear, a taking away of courage.
They are trying to remove their want-to. They work to discourage them, make them afraid, and frustrate them.
What happens when those things happen to you? Do you want to stop working? Do they make you turn to the flesh and the things of the world?
What if you saw them as enemy tactics? Could you use them to spur you on to seek the Lord to renew your strength and double your efforts to prove to them you won’t give in?
The work on the temple is eventually stopped. Lies are told about them rebuilding the wall instead of the temple, and they get an official order to stop them by force.
Here, the believer needs to not see defeat, but the hand of the Lord working in His providence to orchestrate the timing. We may have to stop for a season, but we never cease to seek Him and believe His word will come to pass.
He sent them to rebuild the temple. It will happen. But they are going to have to rely on God to bring it to pass. They are stuck, but God isn’t. He is Lord over it all.