In a vivid dream last night I was standing in a long winding line of people, all of us dressed in white robes. We were carrying gifts and waiting in line to give them at the alters. The lines were so long and criss-crossed over each other. I remember craning my neck to see ahead to make sure I was in line for God's alter. Some alters were for God while others were for idols, and there was no visible difference between the people waiting in the different lines.
My Bible reading today took me to Ezra 3 where the temple is being rebuilt. Not by just anyone, but the returned exiles. Those who had weathered a bit of wilderness and testing and now were ready for action for God. It speaks about all kinds of people coming forward bringing their freewill offerings in preparation for rebuilding the temple. But then something happens. Some are sad at the new temple being built because of comparing to the past and nostalgically lamenting
Next, more adversity strikes. “Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers' houses and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria who brought us here." But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' houses in Israel said to them, "You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us." Then the people of the land DISCOURAGED the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and bribed counselors against them to FRUSTRATE their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an ACCUSATION against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.”
Ezra 4:1-6 ESV
Family, in all the recent words God has shown that we are entering NEW BEGINNINGS. You have emerged from wilderness and testing. Even today's date- 8/8, bears the number eight which biblically symbolizes new beginnings. In Strong's concordance the Greek word associated with 88 is adialeiptos meaning unceasing or unremitting. God is bringing members of His body together to build up His temple which today is His body of beloved people in the world! He is growing and increasing their number and making them stronger for a new movement that is rapidly approaching. Individually this means God is calling us to greater intimacy with Him, deeper levels of faith, greater growth in the areas of our giftings, and is bringing us into alliances and groups which we can be influential and influenced!
But this exciting news comes with a warning. Both in my dream and in the scripture this is a time when we are bringing our gifts of faith. Our time, resources, talents, hopes, dreams, love, hearts are being given to something. We MUST make sure it is to what God is calling us to. The alters of the world may disguise themselves to not look much different than the alter of God, but we just press tightly into Him to ensure we are giving and acting in line with His will! Not just acting for a good cause...But for our God-created destiny and calling.
We must be UNCEASING or UNREMITTING in the work He is calling us to. Like in Ezra, the world will attempt to frustrate or discourage or accuse you, BUT GOD HAS SPOKEN ON YOUR BEHALF. Do not let these things even slow you down. Keep moving and offering your life to Him. It may seem a small offering, but He is using it as part of something much bigger than you can imagine! You are a needed part of His very temple with special jobs to do in its building.