Wando* and I drove to Tigard to pick up the parts we needed to fix the broken pipe in my garage. The first two hardware stores we checked did not have the couplings necessary to fix the half-inch pipe so we had plenty of time to chat. Wando shared about his failed marriage. It bothered him that his life bore the stain of an unsuccessful relationship. I took the opportunity to share with him about Jesus and how essential I believe the Son of God is to holding marriages together. He agreed in the importance of “a higher power.” I hope I get to talk to him again—I want to share that his fulfillment is not tied to a woman.
Ezra 9:3,4—When I heard this report, I tore my tunic and robe, pulled out some of the hair from my head and beard, and sat down devastated. Everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me, because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles, while I sat devastated until the evening offering.
If devastation is the sudden realization of disaster, discouragement is the lingering pain of when will life ever be right. Ezra returned to his homeland from Babylon. Once back in Jerusalem, God’s holy priest discovered that the Israelite people, to include priests and Levites, took wives from the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites. God strictly warned them not to do this. The act of intermarrying often led to worshipping foreign idols and turning away from Yahweh.
Realizing the severity of their sin, the people gathered around Ezra. Together they wept bitterly. It was the rainy season and the weather reflected the gloomy spirits. If you have ever seen a five-day-old helium balloon, you have an idea of their energy level. Then Shecaniah, a suffering bystander, proposed a difficult solution. “Let us therefore make a covenant before our God to send away all the foreign wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God. Let it be done according to the law. Get up, for this matter is your responsibility, and we support you. Be strong and take action!”(10:3,4)
An energized Ezra got up and made the leaders take an oath to do what Shec proposed. A proclamation circulated calling the people to separate from their foreign wives. The people responded in agreement. Can you imagine this happening today? The outcry, legal maneuvering and excuses not to obey God would fall thicker than a heavy rain. Perhaps this is why discouragement is so prevalent among God’s children. Have we become so conditioned to living as we please, that we refuse to take the difficult steps to be holy? I believe the cure to discouragement is to do what is right. God is pleased when we obey Him. He empowers us when we move in accordance with His will not when we move by the dictates of our flesh. Friend, if you are discouraged, ask God to show you what you need to do. Get up and do it. Be strong and take action! If you need prayer or moral support, send us an email—we’re behind you!
God grant we may get to the place where discouragement is as impossible to us as it was to the Lord Jesus. The one dominant note of His life was the doing of His Father’s will.—Oswald Chambers in Run Today’s Race
*Not his real name
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)