Read Ezra 3
Restoration of Altar worship; rebuilding of the Temple; adversaries stop the work.
And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the House of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests . . . who were ancient men, that had seen the first House . . . wept with a loud voice (Ezra 3:11-12).
When Zerubbabel and the returning Jews left the pleasures and prosperity of Persia for the hardships in Jerusalem, they could have assumed that the first thing to do was build their own homes; but instead, they builded the Altar of the God of Israel, to offer Burnt Offerings thereon, as it is written in the Law of Moses (3:2). To them the Burnt Offering sacrifices were not a mere religious ritual, for these Jews had sacrificed everything in Persia in order to restore fellowship with God in Jerusalem.
This was only the beginning of a slow, day-by-day, difficult task of laying the foundation of the Temple, which brought fierce opposition.
We might think that deciding to serve the Lord and doing His work will guarantee a life of ease and freedom from problems. To the contrary! Once Satan sees that we have set our hearts to please the Lord, he will use everything and everyone in his power to keep us from the task we have set out to do.
Satan's purpose is to divert the attention of God's children from His Word and prayer since these are two major weapons the Christian has in the spiritual warfare against his attacks. This is why it is so important to dedicate ourselves to these two things every day of our lives. The study of the Word of God is how He reveals Himself to us. Prayer is the means of communicating with God on a daily basis and allowing Him to provide His enabling power. It is the will of God that our lives need to continually allow Him to be Lord over all we do. Without Bible study and prayer, it is impossible to defeat the enemy. Living in God's will, we will experience victory over Satan. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
God has placed a special call on each of our lives. We need not fear if we are capable or not. God will equip us to do the work that He has called us to do. So let us purpose in our hearts to finish the work the Lord has called us to do. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10).
No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).
Thought for Today:
Each Christian is individually responsible for accomplishing what God has for him to do.
Through the great (huge) stones used in building the Temple of God (Ezra 5:8). Jesus Christ is the Stone which the builders refused (rejected), and He has become the Head Stone of the Corner (Cornerstone) of our faith (Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42).
3:3 his bases, its original foundation; 3:8 set forward, oversee; 3:11 by course, by the assigned divisions of priests; 4:4 weakened the hands of, discouraged and frightened; 5:10 certify, inform.
Pray for Government Official: Rep. Mike J. Rogers (MI) • Country: Germany (82 million) in north-central Europe • Major language: German • Religious freedom • 33.8% Evangelical (Lutheran); 33.6% Catholic; 3.4% Muslim; 1% Orthodox; 1% Other Christian; .2% Other; 27% None • Prayer Suggestion: Pray, in faith, for God to work a miracle (II Kings 4:33-34).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 4
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Timothy 1:17