Scripture: Ezra 4-6; Psalm 137. Click here to view full scripture.
Observation: What was going on in the Bible at this time?
The enemies of Judah and Benjamin were people who tried to disrupt and infiltrate the rebuilding of the temple by offering to help. They were wanting to keep Jerusalem from becoming strong once again; God’s people saw right through them. Ezra summarizes the story of the opposition to building the new temple and other important buildings in Jerusalem. While the people were rebuilding the temple, they were confronted by the Persia-appointed governor, who wanted to know who gave them permission to do their construction project, and the people spoke out in faith. The temple was completed and dedicated, and God’s people celebrated and rejoiced, also celebrating the Passover. Psalm 137 speaks about people in exile and how they weep over the bitterness of captivity. There was bitter hatred between the Israelites and the Edomites. The Edomites did not help when the city of Jerusalem was surrounded and destroyed. In fact, they rejoiced. Many of those people who were oppressed lived to see the victory. Follow along in Ezra 4-6 and Psalm 137!
Application: How can we apply this to our lives?
Unbelievers and spiritual forces are always attempting to work against God and His people. When God has given us a task to complete, we must continue to move forward, always trusting Him to show us how to overcome our obstacles in the way. Discouragement and fear are often two emotions that create a standstill when trying to complete God’s work. We must be sure to recognize these common barriers and ask God to help us overcome our fears. God will certainly give us the courage and strength to overcome our struggles in life, for He wants what is best for each of us. We must always stand strong in the Lord. God will always succeed at getting His purposes accomplished, and He is on our side. People should be able to tell that we serve God by our words and actions. God’s rewards are most important. We must not grow intimidated or afraid to speak up for our faith in an unbelieving world. God can deliver us in ways that we could never even imagine; nothing can stop us when we trust in His love and His power.
Prayer: What can we pray for in regards to these passages?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the examples and stories that You have placed in Your Word for us to learn from. Thank You for the Book of Ezra, the Book of Psalm, and the lessons that come from each chapter. Father, we know that we are sinners, and we ask for Your forgiveness. Please help us to always follow Your ways for us, obeying and praising You through all circumstances in our lives. Please help us to love and obey You wholeheartedly. Please help us to love our enemies and to forgive those who have hurt us, as well. Please be with those who have rejected You, and help them to return to You, Father, before judgement. Help us to treat others with kindness, and help us to show the same traits to others as You do, following Your example. Help us to trust in Your care and provision in each of our lives. Even though we do not always get what we want in life, we know that You know what is best for us. Please help us to draw near to You, and please protect us from giving in to the pressures of this fallen world. We want to live Godly lives. When we face struggles in this life, Father, please help us to call upon You. Help us also to be more compassionate toward others who are struggling in this evil world, as well. Help us to be Your hands and feet in this world, and guide us in the right paths for our lives. Help us to trust in Your timing for our lives, and help us not to grow impatient. We thank You for Your son Jesus who died to free us from the slavery of our sins. Thank You for the unique gifts and talents that You give to each one of us; help us to work in unity with others to accomplish Your plan. Thank You for the promise of one day living in eternity with You. Please guide and protect us, our friends, families, pets, and our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering. We love You and thank You for everything. – in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.