In Ezra chapter 6, we see the conclusion of the storm that the builders went through in chapters 4 and 5. In chapter 4, the bad guys came in, first trying to trick their way in, then by outright attacks, to stop the building of the temple. The builders were so overcome that by the end of the chapter, they stopped working. In chapter 5, the prophets preached to the people, and they were encouraged and went back to work, writing a letter to the king about the problem.
Notice the pattern in this trial:
- They went about their work, with the help of God (ch 5, vs 2,5). It may be difficult in a hard trial, but keep moving; keep doing what God has called you to do. Go in His strength and the power of His might, but don't quit.
- They appealed to the king, instead of retaliating (ch 5, vs 7-17). Be in a position to act instead of reacting when necessary. When in the middle of a trial, if some type of problem needs to be dealt with, follow the correct Biblical pattern, with the right spirit. Using Biblical principles and the right spirit to interact with others through my trial will allow me to be a good testimony in the midst of a dark time. The reality is that our lives touch other people's lives, and so our trials will, too, so even if the trial that I'm going through shouldn't involve other people, its likely to affect other people. If I retaliate every time I feel attacked, not only do I risk losing my testimony, but I also get distracted from doing the job that God has put before me.
- God gave them a clear victory (ch 6). The appeal to the king resulted in him looking at the records, and protecting the builders. He told the bad guys to "Let the work of this house of God alone" and that anyone who disobeyed his decree would be hanged with wood from his own house. The chapter ends with great joy as the Jews kept the feast of unleavened bread; this was what it was all about - serving God with joy!
Do you want the story of your trial to end in great joy? Simply keep moving in God's strength, serving Him. Ask Him to give you the right spirit in dealing with conflict, seeking the Biblical pattern for resolve. Rest in the Lord, knowing that in His timing, this trial will pass, and great joy will return to your life again.
(Ezra 6:7, 11, 21-22) "Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place. ... (11) Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this. ... (21) And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat, (22) And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel."