READING: Ezra 1-3
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: The book of Ezra is one part of the story of the Hebrews returning from exile in Babylon. Under the permission of the Edict of Cyrus, king of Persia (Ezra 1:1), many leaders and servants began the return to Jerusalem. There, they began the work of rebuilding the Temple foundation, beginning with the altar. Here’s the text that most gives me reason to think today:
Ezra 3:3 They set up the altar on its foundation and offered burnt offerings for the morning and evening on it to the Lord even though they feared the surrounding peoples.
The leaders began rebuilding the altar and offering sacrifices, and fear set in. The people around them apparently did not want them to re-build (in fact, opposition will be more clear in chapters to come). Nevertheless, the leaders pushed through their fear and remained diligent in the task. Whereas the people of God had centuries before refused to enter the Promised Land because of fear, these leaders would not allow fear to trump their obedience upon their return to that land.
That’s a good word for us. Our being afraid is a real issue at times. Even though we always want to trust God, our sinfulness sometimes takes us down the path of fear. When that fear develops, though, we still must make the right choice: be obedient anyway. We’ll discover that God is ultimately bigger than our fear.
PRAYER: “God, help me to push through my fears today. Regardless of the potential cost, let me live in complete obedience.”
TOMORROW¹S READING: Ezra 4-6, Psalm 137