“Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.” Isaiah 51:1
This morning as I was thinking about my reading in Ezra and the account about the rebuilding of the temple, I got to thinking about some other verses in the bible that talk about building and stones. But first I want to point out the most interesting part of the story about the rebuilding of the temple – the fact that the building stopped for a while until a very determined group of men stepped forward and started rebuilding against a kingly order which had brought the rebuilding to an abrupt halt.
Here is what those who were trying to keep the edict of the previous king sent as a letter to the current king reporting on the activity of these men:
“To Darius the king:
Let it be known to the king that we went into the province of Judea, to the temple of the great God, which is being built with heavy stones, and timber is being laid in the walls; and this work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands.
Then we asked those elders, and spoke thus to them: “Who commanded you to build this temple and to finish these walls?” We also asked them their names to inform you, that we might write the names of the men who were chief among them.
And thus they returned us an answer, saying: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed...” Ezra 5:7-11
These builders chose to be driven in their service by the “the God of heaven and earth” and were not swayed that a human king had been in opposition to their work. They were obedient to the call of their Lord over the decree of a fearful king who had been told that once this temple was rebuilt that he would be overthrown, as if there was a need for a temple for God to act on behalf of His people.
Read what this verse from 1 Peter has to say about obedience, disobedience, and building:
'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,'
and 'A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.'” 1 Peter 2: 7-8
The blueprint of what God is building is one that was known to the Israelites who were rebuilding the temple because it had been built before – they just followed the framework of what already had been laid. They were not making anything new. In the same way, the framework for what God asks us to have built in our own lives (our temple that is the home for His Holy Spirit) is nothing new, we have been given the framework and on that we are called to build – the framework of Jesus Christ.
To the world our building efforts either look foolish or are threatening to the manner in which it lives away from the Lord. We cannot live in a way though that lets what other people think of our building effort to deter us. We must stay strong in our convictions (just as the builders in the days of Ezra), and we must stick to the framework Jesus has set before us to build our lives as He has command those of us who believe in Him and put our trust in Him alone.
I pray you are encouraged by these scriptures today to keep building your life as a temple for the Lord in the manner He has set before you and with the vigor of one who is building for “the God of heaven and earth.”