Ezra 5-6

God Is Watching.

“But because their God was watching over them, the leaders of the Jews were not prevented from building until a report was sent to Darius and he returned his decision.” – Ezra 5:5 NLT

There are times in life when it appears as if God is not around. Because of our circumstances, we assume that He must be busy someplace else or is simply unaware of what is going on in our life at the moment. But that is not the God of the Bible. He is never distracted, disinterested or distant. He is always there, always watching, and always complete aware of what is going on — every single moment of every single day. The people of God who had returned to build the Temple and restore Jerusalem were going to learn that. Things did not go well for them upon their return. They faced opposition and constant threats from the various people groups who had moved into the land when it was vacated after the Jews had been exiled to Babylon. At one point they had had to halt construction because of a royal edict. But when they started back up again, their enemies were quick to stir up trouble again. It would have been easy for them to assume that God was not there or that He was unaware of their situation. But nothing could have been further from the truth. We cannot judge the faithfulness or nearness of God based on our circumstances. We read in verse five that “their God was watching over them.” He had not taken His eyes or His hands off of them, even though it may have appeared that way from their perspective. He was there and He cared. He was still in control. And in spite of all the attempts of their enemies to stir up trouble, God had other plans. When letters were written to King Darius back in Persia, asking him to put an official stop to the construction once and for all, they were expecting another royal decree to be issued commanding the Jews to cease and desist in their rebuilding efforts. But to their shock and surprise, the message they received from Darius contained an official edict to “let the Temple be rebuilt” (Ezra 6:3). Not only that, the very men who had attempted to thwart the efforts of the Jews to rebuild the Temple and reconstruct the walls of Jerusalem, were commanded to HELP. “Moreover, I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God. You must pay the full construction costs, without delay, from my taxes collected in the province west of the Euphrates River so that the word will not be interrupted” (Ezra 6:8 NLT).

What a God we serve. He not only was fully aware of what was going on, but He had a plan to use the plans of these enemies of Israel to accomplish His will. He turned what they meant for evil into good. The Jews received funding they never would have dreamed of from a source they never could have imagined — the very people who had been trying to put a stop to their efforts. It would have natural for them to take a look at their circumstances and assume that God had abandoned them, or that He was somehow punishing them. But they would have been wrong. God was working behind the scenes in ways they could never have imagined. Assuming God’s absence or indifference is a dangerous thing to do. It is no less than doubting the faithfulness of God and rejecting the promises found in the Word of God. God is constantly faithful. He is ever-present. His faithful love endures forever. We must judge God based on His Word and His character, not our circumstances. What is visible is not always an accurate indicator of what is going on. God ‘s efforts are not always visible to our eyes or apparent to our senses, but that does not mean He is silent or still. Our God is always watching out for us and working on behalf of us, whether we see it or believe it. He is there.

Father, thanks for reminding me yet again of Your faithfulness and dependability. I confess that I too often judge You based only on what I can see happening around me. I sometimes let my circumstances dictate Your presence and limit Your power. But You are always there, working behind the scenes in ways that I can’t see. Never let me forget that. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men