The Jews were jubilant when they returned from captivity in Babylon and eagerly set out to rebuild Jerusalem. Within the first year of their return they had finished building the altar and the daily sacrifices resumed despite the opposition from their enemies. Pretty soon, they laid the foundation of the temple of God with what little they had, while praising with music, shouts of joy and thanksgiving to the Lord!
When their enemies heard what was going on, they harassed the Jews incessantly and eventually, the Jews became discouraged to the point that they abandoned their dream of rebuilding God’s temple. (Ezra 3-4)
Having given up on their rebuilding project, the Jews concentrated on building their own homes and their lives. They gave up God’s will in pursuit of their own will, yet expected to prosper since they were laboring so hard, not realizing that God’s blessings have been blocked because they did not make God their priority! (Haggai 1:5-11)
For about 16 years, the house of God remained in ruins. Then God sent Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the Jews to go back to rebuilding the temple. It was only in their minds that they thought that it was not God’s time to rebuild. The issue was their priority. Changing their priority will change their lives!
As soon as they obeyed, God blessed them. The most powerful king at that time supported their project and their enemies stopped bothering them. This is a perfect demonstration of Proverbs 16:7 – which says “When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.” The temple of God was built and dedicated in only about 4 years.
How many of us were filled with joy the moment we got saved? Having laid the foundation of our faith (1 Corinthians 3:11), we praised God with thanksgiving and music in our hearts! We looked forward to bible studies and our prayer time was so precious. We loved going to church and being around Christians. We were so pumped up that we believed we can do anything for the Lord. Then troubles started to come in. Our enemies now are no longer physical but are the spiritual forces around us, and mostly pressures from life. (Which are really just minor irritations for us living in Canada.) We get irritated with our family, our friends, our co-workers, our church mates. We become unloving. We get discouraged. We get distracted. We start noticing how everyone seems to be getting ahead of us in terms of school honors or promotions at work. Everyone else seems to have more than what we have. Everyone seems to be offensive. The worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth start to gnaw at us causing us to shift our focus from God to our personal lives.
Before we realize it, we hardly read the Bible. We forget to pray. There is no joy in going to church. We abandon building the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16)
The Lord knows what we need. He is the one who could provide us with wisdom, knowledge, healing, favor, and prosperity. He promised that if we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness first, our needs will be met. Jesus said that if we abide in Him, we will bear fruit. God promised that we will have success if we meditate on His Word. Peace that surpassess all understanding will be upon us and joy unspeakable will fill us.
It is God’s will for us to be built up in faith and grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Spending time in His Word and in prayer is the way to be built up. Putting God first by offering our lives to Him and allowing Him to do as He pleases will reveal His will for our lives. Just as the Lord blessed the Jews the day they obeyed Him and made God their priority, He will surely bless our lives if we trust in Him and make Him our priority.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
– Chelsea Mendoza