The book of Ezra chronicles the return of the Jews to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple of God. The temple indeed was completed but not without a lot of disturbance from the enemies of the Jews who also lived in the land.
As I meditated on this story recently I felt to connect it to the series on purpose that I have been writing about. This is because opposition is something that many of us will face as we launch out into doing God’s will or embark on a purposeful venture.
Even as you face opposition or have faced it, remember the past does not determine your future.
I have heard it said that the past results predict the future of a person.
I am sure you have heard it too. Probably so often enough that you have started to believe it.
For the Jews in Ezra, they were reminded of their past by the local residents of the land. See prior to the return of the first cohort to Jerusalem, there had been non Jews from various nations in the Assyrian empire that had been resettled in Jerusalem (and surrounding). As they noticed their new Jewish neighbours rebuilding their temple they were upset. At first pretending to befriend them, they offered to help. However when they were rejected, they wrote a letter to the King requesting the rebuilding be stopped, citing the past rebellious history of the city of Jerusalem against them. This accusation was in a real sense very true. The nation of Israel (and Judah its counterpart) had been very mighty for centuries and resisted domination from other imperial powers. Eventually they were annexed by Assyria/Babylon and naturally resisted. Thus they were rebellious against these powers that took their sovereignty. Their efforts to fight for independence were of no avail, as they lost their land and their people, who were exiled to foreign lands.
The king upon receiving the letter, invoked the order for the cessation of labour on the temple project. The Jews indeed had to stop rebuilding and their work was hindered for several years. Again, the thought here is that your past failures does not determine your future. The Jews could have folded their hands and thrown in the towel, but instead they persevered, and through a series of events, they did complete the temple.
What failures of your past is the enemy (Satan) trying to remind you of? A failed marriage, family, career, ministry or some other important aspect of life.
Regardless of your role in the failures of the past, God is able to start afresh with you.Though something is true about your past does not necessarily mean it cannot be used by God in working out your purpose. Indeed even right now, God could be working out a situation in your life. The key is to surrender your past in totality to God, both the good and not so pretty. Both your strengths and your weaknesses. Remember that he is faithful, and he that began a good work will be faithful to complete it in you. As the 2nd temple was rebuilt and the city of Jerusalem was restored, God can rebuild and restore you personally, emotionally, situationally and so much more, towards the end of fulfilling the purpose and plans he has put you here on earth for.
– Pastor Olu Jegede