Summary: Sermon 8 in the series. God, in His providence, allows the construction to resume. But it is not long before the opposition resumes. The Christian walk will always be a fight. It is truly warfare!
The Book of Ezra
The Building Resumes!
1. Under what circumstances do you find it difficult to persevere in doing what is right?
2. When have you faced opposition from others for doing the right thing?
3. When have you experienced God’s protection in your life?
• We must go back to 4:1-5, 24 for the background of this chapter.
Ezra 4:1-5 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel;  Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.  But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an 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.  Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,  And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezra 4:24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
• During his first year, Darius was forced to battle 9 rivals to the throne.
• Thus there would have been no time for authorizing temples.
• Darius’ answer to this letter in chapter 5 will be found in Chapter 6.
• The events of this chapter occur around 520 B.C.
I. A Renewal of the Construction (1-2)
A. An Exhortation From the Lord (1; 2 Tim. 4:8; Haggai 1:2-8)
• Prophets Encourage Rebuilding, Zerubbabel and Jeshua Begin to build again
Ezra 5: Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son [NOTE: grandson. His father was Berechiah] of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.
• Note the importance of preaching in any great work for God!
2 Tim. 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
• Note a sampling of the preaching of Haggai:
• By the way, Haggai delivered his first message on August 29, 520 B.C. and his last message on December 8, 520 B.C. Zechariah would join him two months later.
Haggai 1:2-8 Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built.  Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying,  Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?  Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.  Ye have sown much, and bring in little; [failed crops] ye eat, but ye have not enough [famine]; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm [inadequate clothing]; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. [inflation due to taxes]  Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.  Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.
ILLUS: The House of the Lord here at Calvary is in need of work. We will begin that work in a major way in 2005. This is pleasing to the Lord.
• While we may begrudge the delay of the Jews in rebuilding the temple, it must be noted that none of the prophets had urged rebuilding until this time.
B. An Example From the Leaders (2) [NOTE: Zerubbabel is grandson to the next to last King of Judah}
 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.
• There is a time to preach and a time to build.
• Zerubbabel and Jeshua do not form a committee.
• They jump right in and build.
• NOTE: Whenever the primary task is building, Zerubbabel is first mentioned. Whenever altar ministry or other ministry is concerned, Jeshua is first mentioned. The lesson is that God delights in specialization of labor. You don’t want the preacher fixing your electrical work, and you may not want your electrician doing the preaching.