Ezra 4:1 When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin learned that the former exiles were building a temple for the Lord God of Israel, 4:2 they came to Zerubbabel and the leaders and said to them, “Let us help you build, for like you we seek your God and we have been sacrificing to him from the time of King Esarhaddon of Assyria, who brought us here.” 4:3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the leaders of Israel said to them, “You have no right to help us build the temple of our God. We will build it by ourselves for the Lord God of Israel, just as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, has commanded us.” 4:4 Then the local people began to discourage the people of Judah and to dishearten them from building.
O (Observation): The locals wanting to help the Jews re-build the Temple (and the Temple walls) feel snubbed when their request to help is turned down. Whether the Jews were right in refusing this help, another path of obstacles was set before them in God’s plans to have the Temple rebuilt.
The text doesn’t indicate that these locals had it out for Jews, but now they are set against the building program, for sure. They sign petitions, letting the rulers of the land know that the Jews are insurrectionists, wishing to tear away from Persia’s domain.
A (Application): We can be pretty hurtful at times. When someone snubs us, we can find all sorts of reasons for us to fight against others, or even God directly.
The main factor remains, though: God was acting before this upheaval, and God will continue to act. Problem is, we don’t know how God will act.
With eyes of faith, we can usually look back and see where/when God acted. Looking forward, however, is a stumbling block for us. We may have a vision for what God wants, but we need to be willing to constantly discern God’s call to us and our response.
If that vision gets stagnant (or we remain complacent), we could soon find ourselves turning into those signing petitions to get our way, regardless of God’s plan.
Where are you sensing a call from God? What external obstacles might be hindering a breakthrough for you? (Once identified, pray for grace!)
P (Prayer): Lord, we want your vision to be revealed to us. When we get stuck, move us from our throne of complacency. Amen.