2014-10-25 - Facing Opposition
Ezra 3:3 "Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundations and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices"
In 586 B.C., Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians. The Temple was destroyed, and the people were led in exile to Babylon. For years the Israelites lived in captivity in Babylon. They longed for the day that they could return to Jerusalem. After the Babylonian Empire was conquered by Persia, Cyrus the king allowed some of the people of Israel to return to Jerusalem. When the exiles arrived back home, their first task was to rebuild the altar, and to prepare to reconstruct the Temple. Their top priority was to worship God. The Israelites soon faced opposition from the surrounding nations. The Israelites persevered in their efforts, built the altar, and made sacrifices to God. Later, confronted with even more opposition, the exiles rebuilt the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem.
Like the exiles in ancient times, Christians around the world face opposition for their beliefs today. Christians are ridiculed, criticized, and persecuted. Even in America, Christians are facing opposition. Like the Israelites, we are to stay steadfast in our beliefs. Despite the pressures of society, we are to worship God in all that we do.
Richard Moser, Jr
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.