Ezra 4.23-5.2 – Faithfulness to God.
Posted: 21 July 2011 in Ezra

Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

I suppose few of us in the West have ever experienced a situation in which a command of God brings us into direct conflict with the civil authorities, and nowadays the same is probably true of the ex-communist bloc countries. But what if it did happen? Imagine a hypothetical situation in which some super-militant new atheists had managed to get Christianity outlawed – some of them are certainly intolerant enough. What then?

In the passage quoted above, the Jews opted for obedience to the voice of God, as that was spoken to them through his appointed prophets, and that, of course, is how it should be. But with the prospect of a nice warm prison cell awaiting us, where we would most likely be deprived of even a Bible, or any other way of communing with the Lord apart from prayer, how many of us would opt for obedience to God?

Just a thought.

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