Built on the Rock
I recently had assigned reading for class that looked at the state of the church. As one might imagine, there was a lot of negativity and concern for a church that the author sees in decline and decay. If we take an honest look at the church, there are undoubtedly things that we need to work to correct. The church in many places has lost its missional attitude, many have become more concerned with our prominence in the culture than our faithfulness to God, and many are content to look just like anybody else outside of Sunday morning. Individual Christians and the greater church both have work to do in drawing closer to God’s design. The Israelites knew this struggle as well, acknowledging in Ezra 5:12 that their faithlessness had led to their decline. Now I cannot authoritatively tell you why the church is struggling. It could certainly be God’s punishment for our sins, it could be natural consequences for our actions (or lack thereof), it could be part of a greater plan for something we haven’t seen yet – I am not in a position to explain what God is doing now.
What I can tell you is this, the character of our God is consistent. In our reading from Ezra, we see God relenting and restoring Israel. Even in the face of persecution from the people around them and interference from governmental authorities, God provides for His people. And throughout Scripture, God consistently shows grace to His people. The temptation when we look at the state of the church is to despair, to lament the inevitable decline. But we have a God who will provide for and preserve His church. We are certainly called to bring our individual lives and the greater church more in line with God’s will, but we are confident that the future of the church does not rest in our hands. It rests in the hand of our almighty, gracious God, the rock on which the church is built.
Today’s B.I.B.L.E. Takeaways:
Blessings from God
God works in these verses to restore His people.
Instructions for Us
This story reminds us to trust in God’s provision for His people and His church.
This story does not directly connect with other parts of the Bible, other than being part of a continuous story.
Nothing in these verses, other than pronouncing the names, strikes me as particularly difficult to deal with.
None of these verses stand out to me as particular favorites and putting any of them on a wall would probably require thinking of them out of context.
Topics to Pray About:
- Thank God for protecting His people throughout history.
- Confess to God the times that you despair the future of Christianity and fail to trust in Him.
- Ask for God to strengthen and correct His church.
In His Service,