Ezra 4:1-5

Israel’s enemies were clever in their fight against rebuilding the temple. First, they offered to help. What better way to cause things to go wrong than to get involved in the work? When their aid was rejected, they set out to discourage the workers and make them afraid. They even hired counselors to fight against the Israelites. The opponents were successful in stopping the work.

Yesterday, we saw that God wanted the work carried out in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. The people were also to reject self-reliance and instead look to the Lord. He offered them encouragement and hope by promising to take care of the mountain of opposition before them. Sometimes that means He will remove the problem; at other times He walks us through it.

We, too, are to rely steadily on God’s Holy Spirit. Doing so will allow us to:

• Patiently love our spouse when there is turmoil in the home.

• Wisely guide our children toward godliness in our self-centered culture.

• Follow scriptural principles about giving, saving, and spending in a society that urges us to get what we want now.

• Experience divine contentment in our current circumstances—single or married, employed or out of a job, healthy or sick.

• Do God’s work His way.

Being led by the Spirit is to characterize how we work (Gal. 5:16). While that mindset is counter-cultural and not pleasing to the flesh, it’s the only way to live as a child of God. Seek out others who are trying to practice dependence on the Spirit, and spur each other on to live it out.