Summary: Five Keys For Moving Forward Together
1 – MOVE ONWARD WITH GOD’S STIRRING
Ezra 1:1-4 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "’The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you-may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:5 Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites-everyone whose heart God had moved-prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
2 - MOVE FORWARD WITH GOD’S PROVISIONS
Ezra 1:4 (The King’s royal proclamation said): “And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.”
Ezra 1:6-11 Their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings. Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god…In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver.
Ezra 2:68-69 Some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.
3 - MOVE BEYOND ISSUES OF PERSONAL COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Ezra 2:64-67 The whole company numbered 42,360, 65 besides their 7,337 menservants and maidservants; and they also had 200 men and women singers. 66 They had 736 horses, 245 mules, 67435 camels and 6,720 donkeys. [Note: 5 month journey to a city that was destroyed 70 years earlier]
4 - MOVE PAST YOUR FEARS TO DO GOD’S WILL
Ezra 3:3 Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening sacrifices.
5 - MOVE ON IN THE MIDST OF OPPOSITION
Ezra 4:4-5 Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. They hired counselors to work against them and frustrate their plans.
Ezra 4:23-24 (The local government leaders got a stop work order) and went…to the Jews in Jerusalem and compelled them by force to stop. Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezra 5:1-5 Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet… prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. Then Zerubbabel…and Jeshua…set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, helping them…At that time [the] governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates went to them and asked, "Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and restore this structure?"… But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to (King) Darius and his written reply be received.