READ : Ezra 4
Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and made them afraid to build. (v. 4)
Downtrodden, that’s the best way to describe my outlook after the first few practices of high school baseball. As a small, skinny freshman, I was trying out for a junior varsity team made up of both freshmen and sophomores. I faced an uphill battle as the sophomores were bigger, stronger, and far more confident.
In Little League, I had always been able to hit. I had what was called a “quick bat.” That hadn’t changed when I got to high school. What did change was my level of confidence. Instead of being confident in my abilities, I became racked with fear of failure and doubt as I listened to the put-downs of some of the older players.
The Jews who returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon experienced a far more intense attack of discouragement and fear. After setting up an altar and reinstituting the worship of God, the Jews were attacked by naysayers. How could they ever rebuild Solomon’s magnificent temple? The people became discouraged in their task. So discouraged, in fact, they eventually halted construction of the temple itself.
Unfortunately, we all encounter doubters and discouragers on our journey of faith. Don’t allow them to sidetrack your obedience or overcome your faith as you seek to honor God.
Lord, remind me of your strength, and power, and victory today. Amen.