READING: Ezra 4-6
“Then the people who were already in the land discouragedthe people of Judah.”
The people of God started the process of rebuilding the Temple, but not everyone was pleased. Enemies of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin surely wanted to be a thorn in the process, even though they offered to help with the building. Others who remained in the land “discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build” (Ezra 4:4). Their opposition continued, and the work of rebuilding the Temple was delayed for about twenty years.
This was not the last time, of course, when enemies of God’s people sought to cause discouragement. Think about some of the ways Satan and his forces seek to discourage us today:
- Challenging our faith when God takes His time in responding to our prayers
- Reminding us of our past-tense and present-tense sin to cause us to question whether God will ever use us
- Trying to convince us that nothing we do is really going to make any difference
- Continually directing us to others that God seems to be using more
And, the enemy has a history of sowing tares among the wheat (Matt. 13:24-30), of raising up people who continually oppose anything we do to try to remove any sense of joy we have in following God. Sometimes they even begin with a show of support (not unlike the enemies of Judah and Benjamin in today’s reading), but they reveal their true heart as their opposition mounts. Frankly, they often succeed at least temporarily, thus causing a diversion and delay in the work of God in our churches.
In those times, we must remember that the opposition is not bigger than God. Even with the opposition that begins today’s reading, this part of the story concludes the reading: “This house was completed on the third day of the month of Adar in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.Then the Israelites, including the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the exiles, celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy” (Ezra 6:15-16). God’s plan was accomplished.
- If you are discouraged today, trust that God is not worried about whatever is distracting you. He will accomplish His plan in His time.
- Celebrate God’s love and leadership today. Pray throughout the day. Sing His praises.
PRAYER: “God, I celebrate Your grace with joy today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Haggai 1-2