Then the people of the land...
Discouragement... it happens often. Sometimes it is our own negative outlook on life. Sometimes it happens when other people frustrate us and cause problems. As I was reading through the book of Ezra I found a verse about discouragement.
Then the people of the land began discouraging the people of Y’hudah, in order to make them afraid to build (CJB)
The children of Israel were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. They began to celebrate the Festivals God had given them (Sukkot, New Moon etc...). There were re-establishing and settling themselves in the land God had given them.
In the beginning of chapter 4 we read that people in the land came and wanted to build with them, saying that they “seek the same God.”
The leaders of the clans answered with (verse 3):
You and we have nothing in common that you should join us in building a house for our God. We will build by ourselves for Adonai the God of Isra’el, as Koresh king of Persia ordered us to do.” (CJB)
This made the people living in the land upset and they began their plot against the people of Judah (the Israelites). The people groups did not want them to continue to rebuild the city. If one keeps reading it says that they even bribed officials. They wrote charges against them. They did whatever they could to discourage the people from following God. And, for a period of time the work on the Temple did stop. The Children of Israel were not able to move God’s plan forward.
The Children of Israel did not give up, and several years later they started work again. This time they stood up for what they knew to be true and held to ALL that God had ordered them to do. They continued to celebrate the Feasts and worshipped God. They observed the Sabbath. They began to re-establish themselves in the Torah that God had given.
The book of Ezra is a great account of how to stand strong in the midst of discouragement. It is a true testimony of learning how to be patient and LISTEN to what God desires. Sometimes it might mean being still for a time, but one should NEVER cave to fear and should always BUILD as God commands.
When one listens to Adonai, even the leaders of the land can change their thoughts about a situation.
Today, stop and reflect on what is holding you back from God’s plan in your life. Is it discouragement from those around you? If so, what are you going to do to move forward and rebuild in spite of what they are saying? Will you cave to their thoughts, or focus on WHO God created YOU to be, and do as HE commands?
It’s all about choice. CHOOSE LIFE, not fear.
Love and blessings,
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