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The Challenges of Ministry - When the Enemy Volunteers: Ezra 4
So, you may be thinking, wait a minute, Zechariah and Challenges of Ministry - so why are we reading from Ezra? The answer is simple. The ministry of Zechariah overlaps the ministries of Ezra and Haggai and much of the historical background is found in those two books. It is an interesting time in Israel's history. The people have been allowed to return to begin rebuilding the temple. You would think that this would be a time of rejoicing, of diligent labor and of honoring God's commandments – after all, they have just come through a period of God's judgment upon them for the disobedience. This, however, was not always the case.
These three books, Zechariah, Ezra and Haggai, present some very important truths. From the three, only one verse actually deals with the fatherless, but there are also some very poignant and tangible lessons for us in the story itself that can, and should, be applied to ministry to the fatherless. Over the next few days we will look at nine lessons that we can take away from these passages.
Ezra chapters 4-6 give us the full, historical account of this story. Zerubbabel was leading in the work of rebuilding the temple. When the adversaries of the children of Judah realized what was going on, they came to him and said, "Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither." (4:2)
Zerubbabel and other leaders made a wise decision. Their response to these men was, "Ye have nothing to do with us to build a house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us." (4:3)
"Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy." Hosea 14:3
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