Ezra 5-6

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The mom crept into the room of her daughter who had recently returned from completing her bachelor’s degree at college. She probably could have stormed her way in and had the same results, for her daughter was zonked out in her bed. She tapped her daughter on the arm and whispered “it’s time to get up.”
With one eye cracked open, the daughter peered around the room as though she was looking for something and then said...
What? What was she looking around the room for, what do you think she said?
Last week we concluded with the temple builders giving up on their task due to the opposition from those around them. This resulted in the onset of a lethargic condition that lasted about 16 years. There was a hustle with the ordinary things of life, but the matter of God dwelling with them had dwindled in importance.
This scene captures what God’s people still wrestle with today: moral drowsiness. This lethargic state is a perplexing problem because the call to awake can barely be heard much less be responded to by the sleepy one. What can awaken us out of our morally drowsy condition?

Moral drowsiness can only be awakened by God

How is it awakened?

He uses His Word to bring about His complete work in you

Ezra 5:1–2 ESV
1 Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
Illustration of an assessor, contractor, and realitor
He perfectly assesses the situation and then calls for repentance
He knows are shortsightedness and points us to grand realities way beyond today.
He knows our tendency to outwardly conform and calls for inward obedience
He knows our weakness and provides His Spirit and a Rescuer

He gives an interpretive lens as to what is taking place around you

He gives insight into whose in charge

Illustration of sports announcer giving a slanted/limited report about who is going to win a game
After the death of Cambyses, he hurried to Media and had a king whom he called an imposter killed.
One source says that Darius fought 19 battles in one of the first years of his reign in order to put down rebellions
He records His victories on the side of a mountain in what came to be known as the Bihtsun Inscription
Darius comes to the throne and gives credit to the false god that he had conquered his enemies
He established 20 governing provinces in order to collect taxes.
When one of the governors hears about the restart of the rebuilding of the temple he comes over to inquire who told them to build and asked for the names of those involved.
The narrator of what God is doing declares in Ezra 5:5
Ezra 5:5 NKJV
5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius. Then a written answer was returned concerning this matter.

He gives insight into His mercy

Ezra 5:11–12 NKJV
11 And thus they returned us an answer, saying: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed. 12 But because our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and carried the people away to Babylon.
Tattenai’s report back to Susa records:
The diligent work of the Israelite people. (v. 8)
In spite of all the foreign gods, they consider that they are doing the work of the supreme God (V.11)
The Israelite people tell Tattenai their connection with the great King David. (v. 11)
The also recognize their departure from the land was due to their sin against God (v. 12)
They acknowledge the command of Cyrus to rebuild the temple
Transition: The people keep building while, the report travels to Susa, Darius orders a search for the former proclamation of the deceased King Cyrus, the proclamation is reviewed, and Darius sends his own proclamation back to the local governor Tattenai. This is what the proclamation said:
Ezra 6:7–12 NKJV
7 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 on its site. 8 Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this house of God: Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered. 9 And whatever they need—young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem—let it be given them day by day without fail, 10 that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons. 11 Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this. 12 And may the God who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this house of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently.
Transition: God’s people often feel the weight of need which often leads us to forget that:

He manages everything to provide for you

The events of the first part of Ezra 6 occupy three and a half years, from September 21, 520 B.C. (Hag. 1:1), to March 12, 516 B.C. (Ezra 6:15).
Thomas, Derek W. H.. Ezra & Nehemiah (Reformed Expository Commentary) (p. 83). P&R Publishing. Kindle Edition.
This is the conclusion of that building time:
Ezra 6:14–15 NKJV
14 So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
Transition: We come down to the end of the first half of the book which records the first wave of exiles returning from Babylon and focuses on the work of the temple, and here is the conclusion:
Ezra 6:16 NKJV
16 Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.
Ezra 6:22 NKJV
22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
Transition: We get a glimpse of the awakened condition God is about producing in His people.

He works to create His joy in you

So what do you think the daughter was scanning the room to see? It was actually two things: One was a countdown calendar. Next to it were several piece of paper that had been torn off. The last one on the calendar read: Wedding Day. To make sure she was seeing things right, she looked over in the other corner of the room to see the beautiful wedding dress neatly pressed and hanging up.
What do you think she said?
Can God through the work of Christ keep us in an awakened condition?
Ephesians 5:8 NKJV
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
Ephesians 5:14 NKJV
14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”
Romans 13:11–14 NKJV
11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Where are you morally drowsy?
Consider the content of what comes into your soul, it is have a theme of immorality and self-centeredness
Is your life full of things that are consumed with your own interest?
Ask God to awaken you from the drowsiness that you know of and don’t know of.
Surround yourself with the provision that keeps you awake
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