The trap of discouragement!
Scripture reading for May 4th: Ezra 4-6
In today’s political climate, Christians often feel that elected officials are against them and hinder the work that they are called to do. For example, Christians in America have been working to reverse the law concerning abortion for many years. Our current administration seems to want to reverse the progress and make abortion on demand available to anyone and everyone. It is easy to get an attitude and loose heart!
Ezra records the spiritual battle for the rebuilding of the temple. When the Jews came to Jerusalem armed with the orders from Cyrus, they were immediately opposed by local political enemies. These enemies offered to help with the work but were really intent on hindering it. Their help was refused. They changed tactics and wrote a letter to King, Artaxerxes. This letter brought accusations against the builders and caused the work to cease. (Ezra 4:18-23) In this battle, discouragement set in because of political and spiritual opposition!
God’s word cannot be hindered, however. God had spoken through Cyrus that His temple would be rebuilt! God raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people. (Ezra 5:1-2) God removed Artaxerxes from the rule of authority. The eye of their God was upon them and another letter was sent to the new king, Darius. Darius made a search, found the decree of Cyrus, and enforced it! (Ezra 6:6-12) God truly knows how to change attitudes in political power! Where He guides He also provides; Darius even ordered the bills paid by the royal treasury! (Ezra 6:8)
We must be careful to not become discouraged or let our poor attitude show. God is in charge and can change the hearts of those in authority. God’s people must heed the prophetic word to continue the work on His house! Our focus must not change and our attitude must be positive! God watches over His word to bring it to pass!
“For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast 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