As I sit writing this devotional my triple D’s are quite different than the ones I will share from the book of Ezra. Mine are dryer, drain and darkness. On the same day my dryer died, the kitchen sink had a pipe in the drain spring a large leak and because of a severe storm there is no power, thus darkness. I am attempting to write old school with pencil and paper, and candlelight. Satan really knows how to dog pile you with one thing after another.
In this week reading Cyrus the Great King of Persia has released Jewish captives to return to Jerusalem. He gives them items of gold and silver to aid them in rebuilding their demolished homeland. It was a huge job, but the Jews were so glad to see the broken walls of the temple. Even the smallest piece of Israel’s glorious past was treasured as they all breathed in the sweet air of home. You must admire the heart of these people who are willing to sacrifice their sweat and backs to rebuild Jerusalem.
I once worked at a school where a terrible storm did damage to the roof and half of the high school classrooms and the library. Being on a second floor the windows did not open and it left tons of wet ceiling tiles and insulation to be removed down flights of stairs. I will never forget how random people showed up and just started working. Though their heartbreak at the destruction, they had one thing in common, a love for their school.
That same unity of purpose and heart can be seen in Ezra chapter three. “And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.” “Together as one man” ! One heart and one purpose, to rebuild.
As captives each Jew had doubted whether they would ever see home again. How full their hearts must have been when the reality sunk in of being home. They looked to heaven with praise knowing only God could have made this day possible. “…the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, … praise the Lord, …And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, … the noise was heard afar off.”
As part of their worship service the Jews laid the foundation to rebuild the temple. “…the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord… But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:…So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people”. They had a uniting purpose, to rebuild the temple.
Anytime heartfelt service is lifted in praise of the Almighty God, Satan runs to extinguish the flames of excitement, worship and united purpose. He cannot let revival spread in the hearts of the Redeemed, for the embers might ignite among the lost.
The oldest trick in Satan’s arsenal is deception. “Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do” Creeping into the city of Jerusalem Satan sends their “adversaries”. “We want to help you rebuild the temple. We are looking for your God, just like you.” Never was a bigger lie hidden among offers for help. The wise leaders of Israel realized the deception and refused their help. Satan loves to disguise a lie in flowery compliments, false promises, momentary excitement and what seems to be a wise decision. While their enemy’s deception did not work this time, Satan is a relentless enemy. He does not give up when deception fails.
It is very difficult to battle discouragement. Satan can use “ Dryers, Drains and Darkness” to frustrate and discourage you. But he also can attack your self-worth by throwing up your past and using others to crumble your value. He doesn’t want you for live a victorious life as a child of the King. So, Satan hammers away at your foundation until your head drops and discouragement gets a firm root into your life. “ Then the people of the land(their enemies) weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,”. Literally, their enemies watch them build and become the most obnoxious, booing fans in the stands. “You will never do it !” “Give up now.” “That brick is crooked.” “You are a loser.” It can be very hard to ignore the voices of discouragement. They can easily cripple any Christian. That is why time with God in prayer and Bible study is so very important. You need a constant reminder of who you are in Christ Jesus. I want to encourage you to go to You Tube : “War Room-Ask me who I am -Overcomer Movie Facebook “.Make this video a constant on your phone. When the enemy attacks you with discouragement, look him right in the face and say, “Ask me who I am.”
Satan’s third D is probably the most subtle in our world. If he can get us distracted from the things that are eternally important, we do not have time to accomplish the “work” God placed us on earth to do for his glory. “(Their enemy) …hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.” Their enemies pulled out lawsuits, injunctions, stole supplies, created arguments, caused drama and did whatever it took to distract the Jews from the actual work that was before them (Ezra chapter four). As a matter of fact, between chapters four and five the work on the temple stops for an estimated 16-20 years. Satan had successful quenched their fire. When Satan attacks you with his triple D’s, don’t grow weary and give up. Boldly, hang up your @ work sign and do what you were created to do.