Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Ezra 3:1-4:5, Daniel 10-11
Two verses spoke to me today. Each different & yet common in that we need to keep our focus on God. When things don't go as planned, when we get impatient or when we think that maybe God isn't even listening, we need to be confident in Him & in the work he has set out for us. We need to pray harder, never ceasing & trust that when we are within His will, no matter what comes at us, He will help us to succeed.
Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah & make them afraid to go on building. They hired counsellors to work against them & frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia & down to the reign of Darius king of Persia.
There were people specifically hired to cause problems for the people of Israel as they worked to rebuild the temple. I can't imagine the frustration! Not just for a day or two, or even a week, month or year. They worked to frustrate their plans for likely 30+ years. I don't know about you, but I think I would have given up well before even a year was up!
Satan works to bring down God’s children & his work. We can even expect this. However, we need to keep our focus on why we are doing what we are doing & keep pressing on. I think, as believers, this is also a great example of how we need to work together towards the common goal & encourage each other. The Israelites didn't give up & just like them, when the going gets hard (even if it's for 30 years), we can't just pack it in, but rather dig in our heels, roll up our sleeves & tough it out.
Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding & to humble yourself before God, your words were heard, & I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
We live in a culture that is so instant & so self-gratifying. We get upset if we can't get/do something right away, when we want it & how we want it. This is in such contrast to how God works. He knows the right timing. When we feel frustrated that we don't get an answer right away, it's not that he hasn't heard us.
The imagery in these verses of the battles going on in the unseen world fills me with awe. It makes me feel small; not in a bad way, but to recognize who I am (& what I think is important) in the grand scheme of things. It makes me recognize the importance to pray faithfully & earnestly until we receive our answer & to expect an answer from God, but in his time not mine.
God doesn't promise us that everything we do (even if it's for Him) will be easy, but we need to keep going. That doesn't necessarily sit well. In fact, it goes against everything this world tells us. But God hears us & knows what we need. He will provide for us, enable us, & give us His strength to keep going, even if it comes only in the amount we need just to get through each day. God is always faithful.