EZRA CHAPTER 4
4 Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build 5 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.
God doesn’t promise us easy lives. He promises that we will be persecuted because of Him. But take heart, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
In Chapter 4, we see the Jewish people being ‘discouraged’. We see men determined to keep the temple from being built. My small group leader in college once told me that Satan will try anything he can to stop us from following Christ and doing His will and that we often know we are doing the right thing because things get harder. Matthew Henry writes, “Every attempt to revive true religion will stir up the opposition of Satan, and of those in whom he works”. As daunting as this sounds, God promises that he will be with us every step of the way. He never leaves us or forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:6). And He never leaves the Jewish people either. So despite the hard times and trials we go through, we know that God is with us and that HE WINS.
Lord, thank you for never leaving my side, even in days of trouble and weakness. Thank you for giving me your strength. Please help me not to be discouraged when Satan attacks, for it is my tendency to doubt your plans. Amen.
EZRA CHAPTER 3
12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses,old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.
Don’t let the memory of past troubles drown out the knowledge of current blessings.
In Chapter 3, the Jewish people are laying the foundation of God’s temple. Many of overjoyed at the prospect at having a place to worship their God again. However, there are some who remember the old Temple and the old days and weep because they are gone. The Temple will never be as glorious as the first. We often do the same thing today. At least, I do. I focus on the negatives and blind myself to the blessings God gives me NOW. At THIS moment. It is easy to get caught up in how rough you had/have it. I’ve gotten pretty good at picking out how sinful I am and how messed up my life is. I forget to be thankful. I forget to worship Him for all the things he has given me. He has even given me His son so that I can live in perfection with him forever. And I find that once I stop concentrating on all the bad things and focus on the good, my attitude toward life, others, and Christ changes! I am happier and hopeful, knowing full well that this world is not my home. God loves me and He love you and we will see His glory. That’s a promise (Psalm 27:13-14).
Lord, thank you for all your blessings. Thank you for who you are. I confess that my mind is clouded with the past and I tend to dwell in these thoughts. Please help me to focus on your love and truth and not myself. Amen.