Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Weary in Well Doing

If your church is like ours, there’s a lot of well-doing going on every day throughout your congregation. With the well-doing comes discouragement. I have my times of discouragement with physical and emotional exhaustion as you do. That’s why we all need encouragement.

The best encouragement comes from God’s Word, the Bible. That’s why Biblical preaching is central in our church. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions.” That’s why it’s important to be in church, especially when we’re discouraged. Hebrews 10:25, 12:12-13.

But what does the typical Christian do when discouraged? He falls right into Satan’s trap. He quits going to church or he vainly attempts to seek another church where there is no discouragement.

We’re presently studying the Book of Ezra, the fifth chapter. The Jews who had their temple and city of Jerusalem destroyed in 606 BC and had been in Babylonian Captivity for seventy years; were now under Persian rule. King Cyrus, under the sovereignty of God, had freed them from that captivity and given them permission to return to their homeland and rebuild.

 DISCOURAGEMENT POPS UP ITS UGLY HEAD

No sooner had they begun to rebuild when they faced fierce opposition from local enemies of God. This opposition went on for about 100 years, bringing on stress and discouragement.

Read about it in Ezra 4:5-7 There you see the opposition started in the time of Cyrus 538-529 BC and it continued through the time of King Darius and finally during the time of King Artaxerxes who reigned 465-425 BC

They soon stopped their work on the Temple and turned all their attention to building their own houses. It’s not wrong to build our own houses and take care of our own needs; but it is wrong to neglect the House of God.

As I reminded you earlier, God heals us by sending us His Word. That’s exactly what God did for His discouraged Children of Judah. He sent two prophets: Haggai and Zechariah. You can read their messages in the books by their names towards the end of the Old Testament. I encourage you to read Haggai 1:1-14 and Zechariah 4:6 and 10. These messages stimulated them to take courage and get back to work.

FACING OPPOSITION AND DISCOURAGMENT

If you never face this, you evidently are doing nothing for God; but simply living for yourself and your own interests. The more faithful you are to God, the fiercer the opposition. Faithful Christians daily fight discouragement.

Read in Romans 7:18-25, 8:1-18 and Galatians 5:16-17 of this ongoing fight with sin and discouragement in the life of every faithful Christian. Thank God for the possibility of victory as we trust Christ for His strength in our weakness.

JUDAH’S RESPONSE TO THE PROPHET’S CHALLENGE

Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and Jeshua, the High Priest, led the people by their own example in rebuilding the temple. Spiritual leadership is not an ivory tower position; rather it involves being an example by getting our hands dirty working with the people.

Their enemies did not ease the pressure against them; but the people refused to be discouraged and stop working on the temple. As long as we are on this earth doing God’s work, we are going to be attacked by Satan and those who belong to him.

Every church member is either a helper and an encourager or else a hinderer and discourager. No one is neutral in the work of God. That choice is made clear in Joshua 24:14-15 and again in Matthew 6:24. The temple was finally completed in the sixth year of King Darius of Persia, according the Ezra 6:15.

I’ve got some exciting information to give you concerning Cyrus and Darius in our next message in this series.

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January 24, 2011 - Posted by | EZRA

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