May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017

EZRA 4-7

Focus Verse: Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to adorn the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, and has extended lovingkindness to me before the king and his counselors and before all the king’s mighty princes. Thus I was strengthened according to the hand of the Lord my God upon me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.
Ezra 7:27-28


I absolutely love the story of Ezra. It reminds me so much of one of the darkest seasons that I have every walked through in my life. So why on earth would I love it so much? Because it’s those dark seasons and the fact that I am still standing firm in Christ that remind me how absolutely faithful, how absolutely true, how absolutely wonderful our God is! He has never failed me, He has never forsaken me, and even when I’ve felt alone, He has never left my side. Ezra is a great reminder of that.


If you skipped the fist few chapter of Ezra up to this point, the Israelites hit some opposition in their rebuilding process. Their enemies come and make some slanderous accusations – accusations that appear to defeat God’s call in their lives to rebuild His temple.


But God’s call cannot be defeated, and we would do well to remember this. Sometimes we get too focused on defending ourselves. We’ve gotten very good at it, with our social media fights and faceless wars. We are masters at defending our own honor. But sometimes when we defend our own honor, we don’t leave room for God to do it for us.


This was what I walked through. All sorts of accusations were made about me, but through it all I felt God tell me to allow Him to be my defender. And He did just that!


I can’t help but smile as I read through Ezra today. The Israelites thought they were defeated so many times. And man have I been there! So many, “God! Why would you bring me this far just to let them win!” moments. But God takes our defeats and turns them into victories.


Because the enemies of the Israelites complain, the officials look into the official decree of Darius, only to find that they aren’t doing enough to help the Israelites! Only God could pull that kind of turn around! What looks like a crushing defeat, God turns into a payday!


And He will do the same for you. Trust Him. Cling to His will and know that if God has called you, He will defend you. You don’t have to defend yourself.


We receive unmerited favor from God because Jesus, who deserved all of the favor of God, gave His up for us. He traded us the glory He deserved and took on the punishment that we deserved. Through Christ, God has written the ultimate comeback story in your and my life. What a Savior!

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