Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.
Trisha, my blogger friend at Joy of Reading, and I decided on calling this post “His Encouragement” because our real source of peace, strength, and security can only come from Jesus Christ. He and He alone is our constant! We pray and hope that these Thursday posts become a real encouragement to you and help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. God bless!
Today’s Thursday Encouragement comes from:
Ezra 4: 1-2 (ESV)
Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers’ houses and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to Him ever since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria who brought us here.”
Here’s a little history lesson:
After the Babylonian exile, Sennacherib, king of Assyria settled the land of Israel. II Kings 17: 24 states, “And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylonia and from Cuthah and from Avvah and from Hamath and from Sepharvaim, and he settled them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel.” This means the Holy Land of God is filled with gentiles and their gods. Fast forward to 70 years later and Cyrus’s decree that a group of Jewish exiles will return and rebuild God’s Temple in Jerusalem.
Ezra 4:1-2 is what happens when the exiles reach Jerusalem and begin the work of reestablishing themselves in the land and preparing to rebuild God’s Temple. This doesn’t sit well with the people who have been living there for 70 years. So they get tricky. These adversaries go to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel from the tribe of Judah who was the acting governor over the returned exiles, and tell him that they want to help the exiles rebuild God’s holy Temple. Their argument is that they, too, worship God as the Jews do and have for the past 70 years, so they want to help right alongside their Jewish brothers. Zerubbabel replies with a resounding “NO!” So these adversaries turn around in a fit and do whatever they can to hinder the process of rebuilding God’s Temple. Basically, they start harassing their Jewish “brothers.”
When I read Ezra 4 yesterday I felt God stirring my heart. He wanted me to talk about these verses today. Here’s why — God wants me to warn you to be on your guard. Never cease your prayers. The enemy is out there in a way he’s not been since the Babylonian exile. He’s angry and he wants you out of his way. Spiritual attacks have been abundant and fierce lately. I’ve had friends, family members, and my husband and daughter tell me they’re all struggling, or have been struggling, spiritually. I’ve definitely been under attack myself.
I think the reason God wants me to share these verses is that many times the bad guy looks so good and he’s so convincing in his goodness that we can become fooled into thinking he’s a “good” guy. We’ve hit the season of “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” The adversaries that came to Zerubbabel demanding to “help” their Jewish comrades used all the right words. In fact, in the Hebrew translation, these enemies even use the correct name for God. When they say, “for we worship your God,” they meant our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but that’s not who they worshipped.
We are in a season of deception. It is getting worse every day. The enemy is giving his followers silver tongues and quasi-knowledge (just enough to seem like they really know what they are talking about). DON’T BE FOOLED. Make sure you are wearing God’s full armor — be in prayer constantly and read God’s Word. Develop your relationship with God so that He is your constant shield.
I know this is a heavy post this week, but I feel strongly that God has placed this message on my heart to share with you. Be encouraged. God is with you always even when it gets so dark it seems like He is gone. Don’t be fooled into thinking He is gone. He is the BOSS, and He is in complete control. Amen to that!!!
NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN!
WHAT BIBLICAL VERSE IS ENCOURAGING YOU TODAY?
Check out more Thursday Encouragement from my fellow blogger friends:
Trisha @ Joy of Reading
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective
Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina
Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes
Andi @ Radiant Light