La semana pasada, mientras echamos un vistazo a Ezra 5, pudimos ver una demostración tan clara de la bondad y el amor de Dios. El pueblo se había estancado e insatisfecho con la vida debido a su descuido del propósito de Dios para sus vidas. Habían alejado total y completamente su atención de la razón por la que el Señor los había traído de vuelta a Jerusalén y se habían centrado en sí mismos. They didn’t recognize this on their own. God delivered His Word through two men, Hageo y Zacarías, para ayudar a los líderes a ver lo que habían hecho e instarlos a regresar a Dios y el trabajo que les había dado. Hageo les mostró cómo se habían distraído por el ajetreo de sus vidas. Tenían mucho, pero nunca fue suficiente. Se habían dedicado a su propia felicidad y placer, pero estaban vacíos e incumplidos. Su lenta distancia de Dios terminó cuando Dios, en Su gracia y misericordia, envió Su Palabra a través de Zacarías: "Vuelve a mí y volveré a ti."
Zorobabel, Jeshua, y la gente oyó a Dios como nunca lo habían oído antes. Ellos pusieron su preocupación por sí mismos. Despejaron sus horarios. Volvieron a trabajar en la reconstrucción de la casa de Dios, el templo. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful story if once they picked up their hammers it was smooth sailing until the temple was completed? En lugar, leemos en el siguiente verso que la oposición vino una vez más. "Quien te dio permiso para reconstruir este templo? Dame los nombres de todas estas personas que están trabajando hoy". Realmente? Habían pasado dieciséis años desde que el trabajo se había detenido. La razón inicial por la que habían detenido la obra en el templo fue debido a otro grupo de manifestantes implacables. Ahora, con la ayuda de Dios, que habían recuperado su enfoque, que habían dejado a un lado lo innecesario para que pudieran dedicarse a lo que era más importante, y aquí viene más oposición, más problemas. Mientras nos bombardeamos con preguntas que leemos en Ezra 5:5,
5 Pero el ojo de su Dios estaba velando por los ancianos de los judíos, y no se detuvieron hasta que un informe podría ir a Darío y su respuesta por escrito ser recibido. (Esdras 5:5 NIVO)
Sé que este versículo es del capítulo de Esdras que estudiamos la semana pasada, Esdras 5, pero no puedo sacudirlo. Es más que una frase, es más que un verso, es una de las verdades más bellas y poderosas de Dios y encontramos la misma idea que aparece una y otra vez en la Palabra de Dios. El hecho de que Dios estaba cuidando a los ancianos no les facilitó la vida, no detuvo a la oposición. Ojo vigilante de Dios no dispersó a la multitud que había formado una línea de piquete. La oposición continuó día tras día. Su trabajo ya había sido detenido una vez, si el rey puso fin a ella de nuevo? No tenían idea de cuál sería el resultado, pero lo más importante, they knew God had called them to pick up their hammers and get back to work so they kept working.
El hombre que le pidió permiso a Zorobabel que le dio permiso y luego tomó los nombres de los trabajadores fue un hombre llamado Tattenai. Jerusalén estaba bajo el control de los persas y Tattenai era el gobernador de la zona. Zorobabel y Jeshua le dieron la información que pidió y siguió trabajando. La carta de Tattenai al rey Darío se encuentra en Esdras 5:6-17. Si vas a echar un vistazo en tu Biblia puedes ver que Tattenai informó lo que Zerubbabel y Jeshua le habían dicho. No acusó a los judíos., no le dijo a Darío que los judíos eran una amenaza para el trono, pero le pidió al rey que buscara en los registros para ver si lo que los judíos decían sobre el rey Ciro era preciso. Al final de su carta, en Ezra 5:17, él escribió,
17 Ahora, si le amana al rey, que se haga una búsqueda en los archivos reales de Babilonia para ver si el rey Ciro emitió de hecho un decreto para reconstruir esta casa de Dios en Jerusalén. Entonces deja que el rey nos envíe su decisión en este asunto. (Esdras 5:17 NIVO)
Este es un ejemplo de la manera en que "el ojo de su Dios estaba velando por los ancianos de los judíos". Tattenai podría haber mentido sobre lo que los judíos estaban haciendo. Podría haber creado un escenario que golpeó el miedo en el corazón de Darío, pero simplemente informó de lo que Zorobabel y Jeshua le habían dicho, "Cyrus nos dio permiso para reconstruir el templo." Tattenai también podría haber ordenado que la construcción en el sitio del templo se detuviera hasta que se supiese el rey Darío, pero les permitió seguir trabajando.
How long would it have taken to get word back from the king? He couldn’t text or email the request. It would have taken months to get word back to Babylon, conduct the search, and get the king to write a letter detailing his findings. What would happen in the meantime? We don’t know because none of those things happened. Tattenai sent his findings to King Darius, they found the edict of Cyrus, and King Darius sent a letter back to Tattenai. En Esdras 6:1 leemos,
1 King Darius then issued an order, and they searched in the archives stored in the treasury at Babylon. 2 A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana in the province of Media, and this was written on it: Memorandum: 3 In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid. It is to be ninety feet high and ninety feet wide, 4 with three courses of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury. 5 También, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in the house of God. 6 Ahora bien, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you, their fellow officials of that province, stay away from there. 7 Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site. (Esdras 6:1-7 NIVO)
Lo and behold they found the record of what King Cyrus had written. And here is another illustration of how “the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews.” Historians and archaeologists have found that Cyrus actually had three homes. He stayed in the capital city of Babylon in the winter, he moved to Susa in the spring, and then to Ecbatana in the summer. He was living in Ecbatana in the first summer after he became king of Babylon. The search for the record of Cyrus’ decree was almost 20 years after the ink had dried, but King Darius found it because “the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews.”
¿Te diste cuenta, after the letter from King Darius arrived in Jerusalem, Tattenai read it and learned that he and all of the Persian officials were to stay away from the construction of the temple. They were not to interfere with the work on the temple. This would have been cause for a great celebration. Finalmente, the people of God were free to rebuild the temple and begin to offer sacrifices once again. But King Darius gave Governor Tattenai further instructions. Volverse a Ezra 6:8-10 venga conmigo y leamos juntos.
8 Por otra parte, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God: The expenses of these men are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. 9 Whatever is needed– young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem– must be given them daily without fail, 10 so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons. (Esdras 6:8-10 NIVO)
Están bromeando? Rey Darío, a pagan king, ordered that whatever supplies the Jews needed for their daily worship of God must be provided from the Persian treasury–bulls, rams, lambs, trigo, salt, wine and oil. Oh, can you see how “the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews?"
The Jews continued their work on the temple for more than four years until it was completed. Leemos en Esdras 6:15 that the work was completed on “the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.” God had used the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah to stir the people to get back to work in August/September of 520 B.C. Now we learn the work on the temple was completed on March 12, 515, nearly four and a half years later. What’s interesting is that tucked away in Ezra 6:14 we read that Haggai and Zechariah were still there sharing a word from God with the people. Yendo al punto, Ezra writes,
14 Entonces los ancianos de los judíos continuaron crear y prosperar bajo la predicación de Hageo el Profeta y Zacarías, un descendiente de Iddo… (Esdras 6:14 NIVO)
“The eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews” in the presence of Haggai and Zechariah who were daily speaking God’s message to urge them on, to help them stay focused, and to encourage them to stay the course.
En los versículos 16-18 we read that the Jews then dedicated the temple to the worship of God. Ezra tells us they celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy. It’s an interesting contrast to what we read back in Ezra 3 when they set the altar in its place and laid the foundation of the temple. There were many who were filled with joy, but there were others who had seen Solomon’s temple in its glory days, before it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and they were taken into exile in Babylon. Some of those who had seen Solomon’s temple, looked at what was before them now and they wept. There’s no weeping in Ezra 6. They weren’t comparing the past with the present they were focused on what God was doing in and through them and they were filled with joy.
Qué gran lección para ti y para mí. The comparison game is a losing bet. What “was” was really never as brilliant and wonderful as we make it out to be. Longing for a day gone by only robs us of seeing His eye upon us and providing for us in the now. Looking backwards only keeps us from looking forward and seeing what God has planned for us in the days to come. Don’t get lured into the comparison game or you’ll become convinced that life will never be like it was back then. The longing for days gone by can happen to any of us, but I find that it is especially tempting for us the older we get.
I’ve got to share a story with you that touched me deeply. Many of you know my dad has had a rough go of it the past year. He’s fallen and suffered a spiral fracture of his leg that required surgery. Entonces, just a couple of months ago, he fell again and broke his hip on the same leg. He’s been in rehab more than he’s been home the past 12 los meses. Dad is a really active guy, but he’s been put on the Injured Reserve list and I know it’s got to be difficult for him. My sister sent me a text with a picture of a letter a guy in rehab wrote my dad when he left last week. La letra leer:
Just a short note to tell you how easy you made my stay. Wish we’d met a few years ago. It really was enjoyable. Keep on being nice to the women, they enjoy it. Hope you get better soon. My prayers and hopes are there for you. Your new friend. P.S. Hook ‘em Horns
Don’t get caught up in looking back to what you think were the good ‘ol days. Look around and recognize God’s hand at work in the here and now. Just as His eye was on the Jews in Zerubbabel’s day, His eye is on you and me. He’s opening doors, He’s bringing opportunities our way.
Let’s get back to Ezra. En Esdras 6:19-22 we read that they celebrated the Passover followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Passover celebration of the Jews was a celebration of God’s deliverance. It was a reminder of how God delivered Moses and the Hebrews from the grip of the Egyptians. It was not the goodness of the Hebrews that spared them, but it was the grace of God who provided the blood of the lamb smeared over the door frames of their houses. Once again God had shown Himself faithful. He had delivered His people from the grip of the Babylonians. God had restored and reconciled His own people to Himself. The Passover could only be celebrated in Jerusalem so this was the first time in more than 70 years the Jews had witnessed their sins being atoned for by the Passover lamb of God. Can you imagine the joy that flooded their hearts?!
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is actually a separate celebration even though it starts the day after Passover. It is also a reminder of God’s deliverance of Moses and the Hebrews from Pharaoh and the Egyptians. After Pharaoh discovered the firstborn had died he wanted to kill all of the Jews. They had to leave Egypt immediately so they couldn’t wait for their bread to rise, they had to eat unleavened bread. God told the Jews to get rid of all of the leaven from their house in Exodus 12:15. mire conmigo.
15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. (Éxodo 12:15 NIVO)
Leaven was symbolic of the corrupting influence of sin. Los Judios, going into Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, were to do an inspection of their houses, pero aún más importante, their hearts. They were to get rid of all corrupting influences in their lives. En Mateo 16, Jesús dijo a sus seguidores, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Mateo 16:6).
For the Jews who had come back from exile in Babylon, rebuilt the temple, and finally, after more than 70 years celebrated Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread–it was a new beginning. As they celebrated the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread they were reminded of God’s covenant faithfulness, His power to restore and redeem. “The eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews.”
Before we get out of here I’ve got to show you one more example of how the eye of God, His sovereign constant care, was with His people. Echa un vistazo a Ezra 6:22 dice.
22 Durante siete días celebraron con alegría la fiesta de los panes sin levadura, porque el SEÑOR los había llenado de alegría cambiando la actitud del rey de Asiria, así he les ayudó en el trabajo en la casa de Dios, el Dios de Israel. (Esdras 6:22 NIVO)
Lo viste? Did you see the evidence that “the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews?” There are actually three things to notice here in this verse. Primero, it was the LORD that filled them with joy. Segundo, it was the Lord who changed the attitude of Darius. por ultimo, it was the LORD who assisted them in the work on the house of God during the four and a half years of construction.
God had filled His people with joy. People are desperate for the experience of joy. We will try anything to bring gladness to our hearts, but we learn from studying God’s Word that it is the “joy of the LORD that is our strength” (Nehemías 8:10). David escribió en el Salmo 16,
11 Ha hecho conocido a mí el camino de la vida; me llenarás de alegría en tu presencia, y de dicha eterna a tu derecha. (Salmos 16:11 NIVO)
Isn’t it interesting that satisfaction and joy were nowhere to be found when the Jews abandoned their work on God’s house so they could focus on their own lives? They were working, diligently working, but never had enough. They were full of exhaustion, not joy back in those days. Once they refocused, once they made living out God’s will for their lives their top priority, God filled them with His joy.
God changed the attitude of Darius the King. The second bit of evidence that “the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews” is found in Ezra’s statement that the LORD changed the attitude of Darius. Just think of the scenarios that could have played out when Tattenai wrote his letter to the king. The people had no idea how everything was going to turn out: they just kept working and trusting God. This isn’t the first time we’ve read where God impacted the decision of a king. Back in the opening verse of Ezra, en Ezra 1:1, leemos,
1 En el primer año de Ciro, rey de Persia, con el fin de cumplir con la palabra de Jehová por boca de Jeremías, el Señor movió el corazón de Ciro, rey de Persia para hacer un anuncio a lo largo de su reino y a poner por escrito: (Esdras 1:1 NIVO)
We will continue to see this truth shared with us as we study Ezra and Nehemiah. The writer of Proverbs let it be known,
1 El corazón del rey está en las manos del Señor; dirige como un curso de agua donde le de la gana. (Proverbios 21:1 NIVO)
God helped His people in their work on the temple. And our last bit of evidence for those who were wondering if God was work during the long season of opposition, straying from God’s purpose, and then getting back to work: God was assisting them on the work of the house of God. Do you remember back in Ezra 4:4 where we read that those who opposed the work on God’s house “set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.” (Esdras 4:4 NIVO) Ahora, en Ezra 6:22 we read that God “assisted” them, but in actuality the Hebrew word for “assisted” means to strengthen. This will not be the last time the Jews will face opposition and it will not be the last time the opposition will try and discourage them.
What was true for Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the exiles who had now been back in Jerusalem for more than twenty years is also true for you and me. The eye of the Lord is upon you my friend. There were times during those twenty years when it seemed like everything was against them, but God was still working. There are probably some of you here this morning that it seems like everything is against you, but you need to know this morning that He is still working. He is still working on your behalf whether you are aware of it or not. He is always working. It had to have been months from the time that Tattenai took names and said, “I’ll telling the king” until they got word that the king had told everyone to leave them alone so they could built, but the uncertainty didn’t stop Zerubbbael and Jeshua from continuing to do what God had given them to do. You may be surrounded by uncertainty right now. You have no idea how things are going to work out–you just keep doing what He has given you to do. Keep working and trust the Lord.
There may be someone here this morning who has never surrendered your life to Jesus Christ. Before you can ever follow His will for your life you must first surrender your heart to Jesus. No esta mañana?
Britton Christian Church
922 NW 91a
OKC, OK. 73114
Octubre 27, 2019
“Not by might nor by power, sino con mi Espíritu,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Zacarías 4:6 NIVO)