The Sunday morning Bible studies having been going really well. If you're in the area and you can get there, they start at 9:30am for 30 minutes every Sunday morning at the All Nations Centre – you'll be blessed! We're going through every book as an overview but bringing out principles to live by as we do. Roger Aubrey is doing a fantastic job with leading it and taking most of the teaching but once a month I take the class. It's an honour and I'm really enjoying. Last Sunday I led the study on the book of Ezra and one verse in particular stood out to me that I'd like to share with you because it tells us so much about the ministries amohst us in the House of God…
Ezra 5:1-2 says: "Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. (v2) Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, helping them."
First of all from verse 1 we have a passing mention that two prophets came among the people. It doesn't tell us what they said or how they said it but we do know that this one verse opens up two more books to us! But what I want to look at is the end of verse 2:
"And the prophets of God were with them helping them."
That's an incredible verse! How did the prophets help them? In two ways.
Firstly by the word. We know that at different times both prophets came among the people and spoke to them or directly to the leaders and gave them instruction and encouragement. Sometimes it was in lengthy prose and vision, at other times it was the short but sweet and ultimate boldness booster: "I am with you declares the Lord." (Haggai 1:13)
The words of the prophets were undoubtedly a help to the people and came at precisely theright time as opposition had put a halt to the building of the Temple. But I believe there was a second reason.
Secondly, they got stuck in! "And the prophets of God were with them helping them." This was a building site! This was a construction zone. This was a massive, large-scale, all hands on deck, mammoth restoration project! Their prophetic utterances would have been very well received but past their words the people, led by Zerubbabel, needed help to build a temple "and the prophets of God were with them helping them."
I love the fact that the prophets of old were harnessed in to what God was doing. They weren't ministry promoting, they weren't in and out with a quick word but separated from the work. With want of a better expression, but somehow it fits, I love that they stuck in and got their hands dirty!
When I read this verse in preparation to the Bible Study I became so grateful to God that the prophets and apostles, teachers, evangelists and pastors that I know of and work with are ALL harnessed in. All lead or have led churches. All have stood for God when no one else was there to stand with them. All of them are excellent men of God who are not elitist or above the rest but right at the centre of all that God is doing.
Here are some of those that I relate to under the banner of Ministries Without Borders. Apostles: Keri Jones, Bryn Jones, Bryan Shutt, Noralv Askeland, Chandrakant Chavada. Prophets: Tony Ling, Ron Eagle, Matthew Ling, Andrew Eagle, Erling Thu. Teachers: Roger Aubrey, Chris Hamer-Hodges, Trevor Lloyd. Evangelists and Pastors: Arne Skagen, Dave Roberts, Tom Kyle….the list can go on and they are all men I know and can vouch for. And there are lots of other great men who work in other parts of the nations of the world equally gifted and harnessed into the work of the Lord.
Today's encouragement – give thanks to God for your leaders. Thank God that they are a vital part of what He is doing in these exciting days. Thank Him for the guidance, wisdom and revelation that has come through their teachings and counsel. But, in the light of Ezra and the rebuilding of a temple that would be so much greater than the former, pointing to a day where the Church will stand without blemish, without stain and beautiful, thank God that the ministries amongst us are stuck in and are harnessed in to all that God is accomplishing in these 'threshold days'.