The Difficulty of Obeying God (Ezra 4:24) - Radical

The Difficulty of Obeying God (Ezra 4:24)

“Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius, king of Persia.”
-Ezra 4:24

So they’re rebuilding the temple here in Ezra Chapter 4, and we see a stoppage in the work, a delay. And as I read this verse, I’m reminded that it’s not uncommon when obeying God in his work, according to his word, to experience setbacks. Obedience to God is rarely smooth and without obstacles in this world. There’s a spiritual battle that is real. There’s an adversary who does not want you or me to walk in obedience to his word. And setbacks in our obedience to his word should be expected.

Obedience to God is rarely smooth and without obstacles in this world.

And yet the whole picture here in Ezra Chapter 4 is they keep pressing on, ultimately through these setbacks. And I’m just guessing that some people who are listening to this right now are experiencing challenges, setbacks, hindrances, obstacles, because of your obedience to God and your desire and your commitment and efforts to walk in obedience to God’s word. To proclaim the gospel, to do whatever it is God is leading, calling you to do by his spirit according to his word. That you’re experiencing challenges in the middle of that.

And I just want to encourage you. Don’t be surprised. Setbacks are to be expected. Challenges, obstacles, are to be expected in this fallen world, but press on. If I could just encourage you today, and I want to pray for you, press on with persevering faith, and ask for God’s help in the middle of these setbacks to continue doing all that he is calling you to do.

God, I pray for that over every single person listening right now. In my own life, God, in our obedience to you today, we know. We know that there will be challenges, so help us to overcome those challenges. We know that there will be obstacles, barriers, so help us to overcome them. Because we pray all the time on this podcast for unreached people groups. God, we know that the gospel going to those people groups will not be smooth. That there are barriers and obstacles that are keeping the gospel from going to the nations.

When we look at, and we see all the different challenges to the spread of the gospel in the hardest-to-reach parts of the world. God, we pray for persevering faith and obedience to overcome barriers, to break down walls, in order to make the gospel known among people who’ve never heard it.

And God, we pray for that in our lives right around us, God, and our efforts to share the gospel with neighbors, coworkers, friends, family. God, we know there are challenges. God, help us to overcome those challenges, help us to speak your word with boldness. To persevere in faith and praying for people around us, and sharing the gospel with people around us.

And then God, in just all the other ways you are leading us to obey you, and all the obstacles that come our way in that, we pray for persevering faith. We pray for your provision in this work that you would help us to do all that you have called us to do. And help us to press on, we pray. Even when, especially when, it’s hard. We pray for these things in the name of Jesus. The name of the one who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, suffered pain and death on our behalf. Jesus, we pray all of this, according to your word in Ezra Chapter 4, verse 24. Amen.

View the 2022 McLean Bible Church Reading Plan.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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