Godly Living Is Not The Easy Life.
“Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old sight. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening.” – Ezra 3:3 NLT
Living godly in a godless world is not easy. Attempting to conduct your life according to God’s will while surrounded by those who oppose you is guaranteed to be difficult and, sometimes, impossible. The people of God had been allowed to return to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the Temple. When they arrived they found their land occupied by foreigners, people who had been relocated to Israel when the Assyrians conquered the Israelites and took them captive. These people had migrated down into the south and taken up residence in Judah while the people were in exile in Babylon. So when the people of God returned to Jerusalem, they found themselves surrounded by enemies who were opposed to their presence and would do anything to prevent their relocation and rebuilding attempts from being successful.
But the first thing the people of God did was build an altar on which to offer sacrifices to Him. In the face of their enemies and in spite of their own fears, the people proved to be obedient, building the altar and reinstituting the sacrificial system Moses had established years before. They also brought back the feasts and festivals, as well as the daily sacrifices. Only then did they begin to build the Temple. They knew they had to get their hearts right before they went about building God’s house. And they knew they had to build the Temple before they began constructing on the wall or any other structures. He had to come first. Getting their spiritual lives in order was paramount. They knew a rebuilt city with strong walls was useless without the presence and power of God to protect them. They had learned that painful lesson from experience. So they built and when the foundation was laid, they celebrated. Some rejoiced at the accomplishment. Others wept because they knew that the new Temple would never match the glory of the old one. But they were faithful to do what God had called them to do. They faced their fears, stood up against their enemies, and they built. It would take them four years to finish the Temple, and they also had to rebuild the city walls and the city itself. This was a gargantuan task, and they did it all under constant pressure and attack from the opposition. God never told them it would be easy. But they were going to find that God was in the midst of their efforts. He was there and He cared. Godly living is not easy. It never was meant to be. It takes effort, courage, obedience, and faith. The presence of opposition is not an indication of God’s absence, but a reminder that we need His power. Our weakness is a great opportunity for Him to reveal His strength. We just need to be faithful and do our part. He will do His.
Father, forgive me for always wanting my life to be easy. Forgive me for getting angry when things get difficult or trials come my way. Keep me focused on You in the midst of it all. Help me to remain faithful in the face of opposition. You have always been there for me and You always will be. Thank You. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men