“And they kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them and the work of the House of God, the God of Israel.”
I love the picture here of joy among God’s people when they see God working in the world. God had turned the heart of King of Assyria to them. He helped them to build the temple, and that’s something only God could have done. For the king of Assyria to help them and the work of the House of God, that was evidence of God’s hand, God’s grace at work, God’s power at work.
Looking at God’s faithfulness in the past is often a great way to grow in faith in the present.
So, the people kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them. Do you ever just sit back and say where do I see God working around me and let it bring you joy? Let it bring you joy to see the evidence of God’s work, to stop in the busyness of our lives, to stop amidst everything else we have going on, to stop, sit back and just look at what God is doing and let it bring you joy. Sometimes, particularly when we’re going through challenges, when we’re going through trials, we don’t understand what God is doing.
Reality is we don’t see all that God is doing and we struggle. We struggle to trust God, but that’s where even in those times, maybe even especially in those times, it’s good for us to stop and just look for ways we know God is working and not just is working now, but has worked in the past. Looking at God’s faithfulness in the past is often a great way to grow in faith in the present. So God, right now, right now we stop in our lives and we look around and we see your work. You brought the sun up today. That was glorious. Wonderful are your works.
You brought the sun out of the sky. That didn’t happen naturally. That happened supernaturally. The fact that we have light over us or maybe we’re praying this and it’s dark. You brought the stars out. You called them each by name. By your great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40 says we praise you for your glory in creation all around us. It brings us joy to see your beauty in creation. We praise you for the breath you’ve given us, even the breath we have right now as we breathe in and out. Thank you. Thank you. This is joy when we see that you give us life, that you give us sustenance.
You give us food to eat. You give us drink to nourish us. Lord, you give us people around us who love us. You give your church. What a gift, oh God. Help us to see your church with joy. I think about time I had today just praying with brothers and sisters, like family. We were like family, sharing burdens with one another, and praying together. Like family, like deeper than physical family and spiritual family, children before you, our father. What joy, what joy to be able to bear burdens with other brothers and sisters before you as our father.
Oh God, God, give us joy even in the simple things in seeing your work around us and I pray. I pray especially for those who are walking through hard times in the midst of trials, which is exactly what was happening and Ezra chapter six. They’re wondering amidst discouragement right before this. Is God going to be faithful? Is God going to show himself strong on our behalf? Is this temple going to be built? They saw that you were working in at all. Even amidst the discouragement and disparate, you were working in it all. God help us to trust them and in your work even when we don’t see it all, Lord, give us joy over the fact that you are trustworthy with all.
Oh God, we we are made joyful when we see your hand at work around us, and so we pray. We pray even as we intercede and we petition you for help in this or that area of our life or others lives. We pray that you would work in a way that our joy grows in you. God, we praise you for the joy that comes from you and we pray for ever increasing joy in you. I pray for this in my life. I pray for this and every person who’s listening right now, for ever increasing joy in you. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
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