Ezra 5:5 and Acts 10:1-4
Do you ever wonder if your work is seen and appreciated? Maybe it feels like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and your devotion to God has gone unnoticed? Perhaps circumstances have rekindled your desire to do the right thing, but you too now face severe opposition?
I want to show you that God sees you. He hears you and He remembers your good work.
By decree of Cyrus, the king of Persia, a remnant of the people of God were allowed to return to Jerusalem following a seventy year exile in Babylon, where they planned to rebuild the temple that lay in ruins. Although they were given all they needed for this mammoth task, the inhabitants of the land did not like the arrival of the people and they attempted to frustrate and discourage their efforts. A group of jealous men did in fact succeed in halting the work altogether for sixteen years, but it was restarted in the second year of the reign of King Darius (Ezra 1-5, Haggai 1).
As soon as work on the temple started again, leaders from the surrounding provinces attempted to intimidate the workers. But the eye of their God is on them and this time, their work could not be stopped (Ezra 5:5). A letter was sent to King Darius asking him to search the royal archives for the decree that was written by King Cyrus who’d made provision for the house of God to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. The decree was found and Darius told those who intended to stop the work, to now let it continue. He also agreed to pay for all the work from the royal revenue and made provision for the daily sacrifices to the God of heaven.
“The temple was completed in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius and the people of God celebrated loudly.”Ezra 6:22
In Acts 10 we read of a ‘Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. “Cornelius!” the angel said. Cornelius stared at him in terror. “What is it, sir?” he asked the angel. And the angel replied, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering!”’ (Acts 10:1-4). The next day, God gave Peter a vision about sharing the good news of Jesus as Son of God and Messiah with the Gentiles as well as the Jews, so when Cornelius’ messengers arrive to ask Peter to come to his house, he went willingly and God saved Cornelius and his whole household, the Holy Spirit fell on all of them and they were baptised in water.
God saw those who had a heart to rebuild His temple and He intervened on their behalf. He also saw the devotion of Cornelius and used him to open up the good news about Jesus to those outside of the Jewish faith.
And God sees you today. He knows you and He is working on your behalf.
“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT)
© 2021 by Ruth O’Reilly-Smith