Following Cyrus’s declaration, regarding the freedom and restoration of the Jews in 2 Chronicles, the Jews returned to Jerusalem. They built an altar to God and laid the foundation to rebuild the temple (Ezra 3). In chapter 4, Zerubbabel and the builders experienced opposition from their adversaries. They first tried to convince the builders to include them in the work. When they refused, they discouraged the people and made them afraid to build. They also bribed leaders against them to frustrate their work (Ezra 4:1-6).
Letters were written to the King who caused the work to cease, until the second year of King Darius. Then the prophets prophesied over the Jews and Zerubbabel rose up and began to rebuild the house of God (Ezra 5:1-2). They experienced opposition a second time but they continued to build. The elders were again questioned about where they received permission to rebuild the temple. “And this was their reply to us: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished” (Ezra 5:11).
The elders informed the King of the decree which Cyrus had written, concerning the Jews rebuilding their city and the temple. The King sent men to search the archives and they found the decree from Cyrus the King. The King then gave permission for the work to continue. “And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They finished their building by decree of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia” (Ezra 6:14).
I notice how the elders moved at the anointed word of God through the prophets. As the word was prophesied over them, they prospered to complete the work. Although they experienced much opposition, they continued to build and were encouraged by the spoken word. When we set out to do anything great for God, we can expect opposition and discouragement. This is often an indication that you are doing something great and making progress. Surround yourself with people, who will continue to speak the life giving word of God over your situation. Encouragement is a strong antidote to discouragement and remembering what the word says, provides strength to build.
“Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).