Working With Confidence In God Ezra 4:4-5,24-5:5; 6:8,13-16 Dec.10, 2006
Our confidence in God will build through experience. The more actions we engage in through faith in God’s Word; the more confidence we enjoy. It is sad when we do not learn from our experiences of faith. The Lord called attention to the disciples lack of confidence when He asked, “. . . Don’t you remember the five loaves for the 5,000. . . ?” (Matt 16:9). At other times it appears they were Working With Confidence In God.
1. Work With Confidence Discerning Godless . . Discouragement. Ezra 4:4-5
A. Confidence In The Midst Of . . Troubling of Discouragement. 4:4-5a
4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building,
5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose . . .”
B. Confidence In The Midst Of The . . Time of Discouragement. 4:5b
“. . . all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. NKJV
Suppose you work to build confidence and some godless people try to discourage you. This kind of interference is troubling, and in this case the Bible registers the timing of such actions for us. We can learn from the text that we must follow God and His Word; especially in these times.. If we look to the lifestyles of godless people and see what comes through their actions we will become more confident in our Lord. Recently an acquaintance has been harassed by family to live like them rather than in agreement with God’s word. This person needs to look at what that lifestyle produces. You cannot build your personal temple of God without seeking a godly lifestyle. In Ezra’s lifetime the people received discouragement from the enemy trying to stop them from building the centralized place of worship. If they follow the will of the godless people they will not produce the Temple. Following God will cause the Temple to be built.
2. Work With Confidence Discerning God’s . . Direction. Ezra 4:24-5:6
A. Confidence In The Midst Of The . . Stymieing Of Direction. 4:24
24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
B. Confidence In The Midst Of The . . Strengthening Of Direction. 5:1-2
Ezra 5:1 Restoration of the Temple Resumed Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
C. Confidence In The Midst Of The . . Security Of Direction. 5:3-6
3 At the same time Tattenai the governor of the region beyond the River and Shethar-Boznai and their companions came to them and spoke thus to them:"Who has commanded you to build this temple and finish this wall?" 4 Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building. 5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius. Then a written answer was returned concerning this matter. NKJV
As we look to be directed by the Lord some will do their best to stymie our positive actions. If they can completely stop good work they will do it. But the prophets of God sought to strengthen the people according to the instruction of the Lord. I personally applaud preachers who stand for the ways, will, and work of God.
In the text the Lord caused an assurance to the people as He granted security for the people in their appeal to the king’s past command. This came in spite of the work of the godless counselors who worked on the people as well as in the king’s court.
3. Work With Confidence Discerning Godly . . Diligence. Ezra 6:8-14
A. Working With Confident Diligence . . Appreciating The King’s Degree for Building. 6:8-9
8 Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this house of God: Let the cost be paid at the king's expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered. 9 And whatever they need — young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem — let it be given them day by day without fail,
B. Working With Confident Diligence . . Acknowledging The King’s Degree for Worship. 6:10-11
10 that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and
his sons. 11 Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this.
C. Working With Confident Diligence . . According To The King’s Degree for Destruction. 6:12-13
12 And may the God who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this house of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently. 13 Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions diligently did according to what King Darius had sent. NKJV
When God grants a decree with governmental authority behind it we will appreciate His work even more. In the text the king even encouraged sacrificial offerings to be made. The people acknowledged this action of the king, and acted in appreciation of how God used even a pagan king to accomplish His work. In the fellowship of your church how do you diligently seek to express confidence in the plans of God? I believe the church needs to rise up with specific prayers beseeching God to act as only He can in the life of our churches. Truly we can be busy Working With Confidence In God. Amen? Amen!