Friday, 12 November 2010

Let us build with you

Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the LORD God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers' houses, and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do; and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here." - Ezra 4v1-2

How nice this must have sounded. When the enemies of Judah heard that the temple was being rebuilt they said, ‘Hey let us help you, we seek your God and we have sacrificed to Him.’

As good as it might have sounded; the leaders of Judah knew it would never work. Their response was clear – ‘You may do nothing with us to build a house for our God; but we alone will build to the LORD God of Israel.’

Why would these folks not accept the help of these outsiders? Pragmatically speaking it would make sense, more money and more labourers would certainly seem to make the job easier and to get it accomplished sooner.

I think the principle is clear; God’s work is to be done by God’s people. God does not need the world to do His work. It sounds a bit mean, but we really don’t need the world’s help to do God’s work.

To many churches and too many Christians have grown accustomed to taking help from the outside, tax breaks, government refunds, and various subsidies are dangerous in that they can make us dependent on man instead of trusting in God.

I don’t think we can build a strict policy here about accepting any kind of assistance. It is not that clear. I do think we can be warned to be careful about allowing the world to ‘help’ us do God’s work.

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