Ezra 8:22 Acting In Trust

I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” Ezra 8:22

The king of Persia gave Ezra money and permission to take some people with him to go and build the temple of God. The journey home would take them on long deserted roads, where many bandits would be found. He chose not to ask the king for protection on the road, because he had already told him that God would protect them. Ezra stepped out in faith trusting God.

It is very easy for people to believe something, but it is more difficult to actually act out in that belief. There was a story told about a tightrope walker who walked across a rope high off the ground with a wheel barrow several times. All the people loved seeing it and saw that he was good. Then he asked if anyone would be willing to ride in the wheel barrow with him going across the rope. No one would do it.

Many believers say that they trust God and believe all of His words. However, very few will actually step out and act in faith upon those words. Most will have some type of back-up plan available, or a ‘just in case’ plan set up.

As you are going through life, there will come times when your faith in God will be challenged. You will have to choose to either follow God by stepping out in faith, or you will have to back down and do things your own way or the way of the world.

Ezra could have easily asked the king for protection, and would have been seen as wise in doing so. He did not, because he already made a statement of trusting God for protection.

Who are you trusting today? God? Or this world?

Now are you willing to step out in faith, trusting God and His word to you?

I pray today that you will know God’s words to you; that you will trust God’s word to you; that you will act upon what you believe in God; and that you will seek God and His protection for your life.

Ezra 7:10 Devoted To God’s Word

For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. Ezra 7:10

The new king of Persia, Artaxerxes, had provided Ezra with everything needed to build the temple and offer the required sacrifices. He also made a law that everyone had to worship God correctly. All these things were done because Ezra was dedicated to knowing, following and teaching God’s Word correctly.

Devotion is what makes the difference between someone being good at something or being great at it. There are many men that love to play football or golf, but only part-time. They like to play them once in a while on the weekends, but not every day, all day.

They can play the game, but not very well. Those who become professional at it or good enough to win small local tournaments, are devoted to the game. They practice daily, constantly learning how to improve their play.

The majority of believers in the church only open their Bible on Sunday morning as the pastor speaks. Then there are a few who read a few Bible verses each day. Even less, are those who are devoted to God’s Word. Those few study God’s Word daily, apply it to their lives, and tell others what it says.

Being devoted to God’s Word, means that you take time to study it fully to understand it. You then work to apply what you have learned from God’s Word to your own life. Once you have done these things, then you must tell others what you have learned.

Stopping short in any of these areas, keeps you from being devoted to God’s Word.

When you are not devoted to God’s Word, you will miss out on what God has for you. You will also cause others to miss what God has for them. Ultimately you will slow down or stop building God’s kingdom on this earth, which is the whole purpose of when Jesus came to this earth.

Take a look at your life. Are you devoted to God’s Word?

Or are you just a part-time partaker of God’s Word?

Do not make God’s Word just a temporary part of your life.

I pray today that God will give you a love for His Word; that God will open your eyes to His Word; that you will obey God’s Word; and that you will share God’s Word with others.

Ezra 6:22 Celebrate With Joy

For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the LORD had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel. Ezra 6:22

After receiving some opposition to the building of the temple of God in Jerusalem, the people had received permission to continue building from the king. Once the temple was finished being built, they celebrated for seven days. They were filled with joy because they knew that it was God who had changed the mind of the Assyrian king. Not only did the king allow them to build the temple, he also assisted them by providing many of the supplies needed.

Most people celebrate with joy about difficult things that they have accomplished. Very few people will not celebrate a great accomplishment. The world, however, celebrates it because of what they have done. Self is often looked at as the one who had accomplished everything and deserved to be able to finish it.

Others will often look at it as being very lucky that everything went in their favor.

Believers in Jesus, should be like the Israelites, in knowing that it was God who had given them the ability to finish the project. It was God who had changed the mind of the enemy to give them favor in finishing the building project.

As a believer you must keep yourself to the back. Realize that it is God who is at work in and through you. It is only by God’s power that you can do anything. When a difficult time presents itself in the midst of doing something for God, it is God who provides the way to keep going. Do not be like the world and take the credit.

When you are finished with doing God’s will, celebrate with praise the work that God helped you to do. Celebrate that it was God who cleared all the obstacles in the way to being able to finish. It is God who is in control, not you nor the world.

Who are you celebrating?

God? Or yourself?

God? Or this world?

I pray today that you will see God’s hand at work in your life; that you will know God’s power over this world; that you will see God’s favor in your life; that you will give God praise for His work; and that you will celebrate God’s work, not yours or this world.

Ezra 4:24 Giving In To Pressure

Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Ezra 4:24

King Cyrus had given the Israelites permission to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem. The people in the surrounding area began to be afraid. They that if the city was rebuilt, the Israelites would revolt and break away. They persuaded the king to force the people to stop the building. After a lot of pressure, the Israelites stopped the building of the temple.

In the eyes of the world, Christians are a dangerous threat, even though Christians are to love everyone, including their enemies. The threat comes in that Christians do not believe in or act the way the world does. Jesus had set a standard that was different from that of the world. This has a severe effect on the lives of those in the world and they do not like it.

People in the world try to accuse Christians of hate because they do not conform to the world’s standards of living. For many years in America there has been the term of “political correctness” being used. Believers are threatened in many ways to give in to the world’s way of living.

Sadly, many believers have given in to the pressure to conform to this world’s standards. They feel the threats of job losses, jail time, lawsuits and more, and choose to change their words and standards. Churches, and many believers, now allow open sin as acceptable in God’s eyes, changing the Word of God, and doing what God clearly says not to do.

As the Israelites gave in to the pressure to stop building the temple, many believers today give in to the pressure to stop building God’s kingdom. They stop being His witness out of fear of those in the world.

The world will do their best to put pressure on you to turn from Jesus and follow their ways. As the world puts on the pressure on you to give in to their ways, you must make a choice as to who you will follow.

Will you follow Jesus, who gives life?

Or will you follow this world, which brings only death?

I pray today that you will stay focused on what God wants you to do; that you will only live for God; that God will give you strength to overcome pressure to turn from Him; and that you will continue to build His kingdom.

Ezra 4:4 Opposition Will Come

Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. Ezra 4:4

After the people of Judah had been released from full captivity in Persia, they were allowed to go back and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Many were excited to be a part of the building project and began immediately setting the foundation. Immediately the groups of people around Jerusalem set out to discourage the people from continuing to build the temple. They would try to make them afraid to build it.

Any time a person starts to do something new or grand, there are people who try to discourage it. Often the people try to stop it because it sounds crazy or too big to really accomplish. Other times it is out of fear that they try to stop the project.

All the other groups of people in the areas around Judah had heard the stories of the Israelites. They knew that when the Israelites were worshipping God as they were supposed to, things would go in their favor. All the nations around would then suffer, because they did not serve God. This would cause them to rise up in opposition to stop the worship of God.

Times have not changed. Any time you begin to do something for God, there will always be an opposition that will rise up and try to discourage you. The world does not want you to succeed as a believer in Jesus. If you succeed, that means that they have failed. You are a threat to their way of life.

You are to be the light of Jesus in this world. His light shines into the dark lives of people, exposing their sin. No one wants to be exposed, so they will try to stop you. This can happen from outside the church as well as inside the church.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and do not give up. Continue to go on building God’s kingdom and doing His work while you can. Although the nations may rage against you, you will not fail, as long as you are doing God’s work in His way and time.

Do not be discouraged at the opposition that will come against you. God is on your side.

I pray today that you will know God’s will for your life; that you will do the work of God; that you will not be discouraged; that God will strengthen you to do His work; and that you will continue to build God’s kingdom.