By Bob Bunn
The old cliché states that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. But the flip side is also true. The space where the power of God working through His people and true purpose intersect produces fruit. If you doubt it, just look at Ezra 5.
After years of captivity, the Jews finally thought they had a plan. They were back home, working hard to create a new normal that rejected their past mistakes and reconnected them with God. Even then, though, persecution created roadblocks, and the work of nation-building and temple-building came to a virtual halt.
That’s when God’s people with a righteous calling stepped up to the plate. First, you had the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 5:1). In the past, God’s prophets had warned the people that judgment was on its way. But God sent these messengers to build the people up, not break them down.
Then you had the politicians, Zerubbabel and Jeshua (5:2). Israel had been run into the ground by following the path of bad leaders in the past, but these individuals were a new breed of shepherds committed to following God and caring for His sheep. They were godly examples that Israel could follow without reservation.
Together, the prophets and the politicians urged the people to stick to their work and to keep the temple reconstruction moving forward. When the leaders finally appealed to the king, they were clear about their identity and purpose. They knew who they were and what they were about.
We are the servants of the God of the heavens and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple.
They could approach the most powerful human on earth with boldness because they knew they were right and because they were confident in the God who had called them to work for His glory.
As we reflect on our lives, we must identify and honor wise people who can hold us accountable. We need to take inventory of those who have earned the right to speak into our lives and challenge us to become all God created us to be. We need them to accomplish His purposes for our lives.
For the ancient Israelites, that mission involved rebuilding the temple and jumpstarting the spiritual renewal of the nation. For us, it might mean moving out of our comfort zones and embracing a God-sized task we would never have imagined just a short time ago.
The specifics of the job will vary from person to person, but the need to lean into God and to seek the support of other godly people never changes.