Thieves & Destroyers

Morning Devotion October 27th Ezra 5:1-17

As I read the text this morning a smile crossed my face. Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Jeshua have returned from the exile in Babylon to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. This was not just a whim, it was the sovereign act of God in fulfilment of His own prophecy. Cyrus, king of Persia, had issued an order for the rebuilding – a pagan king bowing to the way of God. But, back in Judah there are those who oppose the rebuilding of the Temple – I cannot imagine why they would oppose it, but there are always, I suppose, those whom Jesus called “thieves and destroyers.” In John 10:10, He say, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”   (The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1984 (Jn 10:10). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.)

I can just see these “party-poopers”: The builders are in the thick of it, sweaty, heaving heavy stones and knowing fulfilment in what they are doing, and along come the spoil sports. “Who authorised you to rebuild this temple and restore this structure? Give us the names!” But, the eye of God was watching over them and the work could not be stopped until a report could go to Darius and a written reply received. (We don’t stop the work of building the Kingdom just because some might not agree with what we are doing!)

And so the “tell-tales” write to King Darius. Dear Sir, You should know that there are some naughty boys doing just what you told them not to do, and they are claiming that it was you who gave them the go-ahead. Now we have been good boys and we have done nothing to the temple which was broken down by Nebuchadnezzar. We know that you would want it to lie as a ruin in memorial to him. You can go and check the records and you will find that we are right and they should be punished.

In my journey of faith I have come across many of these negative people. I must confess to not understanding them at all. Why steal from others and destroy their endeavours when you are not hungry and your life is satisfied. What kind of jealous spirit drives people to do that? It is the thief of all thieves – the evil one who is behind the negative facade of self-righteousness.

But Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”   I am very clear about which side I want to belong to – I would rather wash feet than betray, build up rather than destroy, give to rather than take away. Lord, help me to show Your light to those who live in darkness.

“I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1984 (1 Co 15:50). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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