Tuesday Devotional: Ezra 3

bibleWhen the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled together as one in Jerusalem. Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day. After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred festivals of the Lord, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the Lord. On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, though the foundation of the Lord’s temple had not yet been laid.

Any time we take a strong position on an idea or anything in which we firmly believe, there will be those that do not share our position.  When facing this opposition it can be difficult to uphold or sustain our faith in what we believe.  It can be difficult if we do not find complete joy in the faith we profess to those who disagree.  The feeling of intimidation at opposition toward something you believe is only felt if your faith was resting at least  partly on others sharing your faith and supporting you in it.  That is, underneath your faith, there remained an element of insecurity that desired the approval of others.  On the other hand, if what you have faith in is your sole source of joy, regardless of how many people either agree or disagree with your position, your faith will remain unshaken.  Faith in God is not a matter of working your way up a ladder of knowledge or education in the Lord.  The foundation of one’s faith has very little to do with background.  It has everything to do with experience.  And to experience the living God is to experience the truest and most complete reason to worship and celebrate.  Having found and experienced God, one does not need to know every detail about the word.  One must only know that the word of God is good because he is good, and that his gospel is the only truly “good news.” With this assurance we may stand and act in faith, regardless of outside attitudes.

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