September 24, 2023

Unexpected Support

Ezra 6:1-7, 13-18

Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site.

—  Ezra 6:7

For several years, the rebuilding of the temple stalled while the Jewish people faced opposition from their neighbors. These opponents threatened God’s people and called on the king of Persia (who controlled the area) to stop this work. But then something unexpected happened: instead of stopping the work, the king confirmed that a decree had been issued to rebuild the temple, and he told the enemies of the Jews to back off—and even to support the work instead! Sometimes God provides support from unexpected sources to keep his work going in this world.

In our personal and spiritual lives, we may find unexpected support at times too. Teachers and coaches may show us grace even if we have let them down. Employers may support us generously through a family crisis. A spouse may show deep and forgiving commitment to their partner who has been unfaithful. Through actions like these we gain glimpses of the mercy and care of God.

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The gracious love of the holy God is an unexpected gift. But God not only welcomes us back to himself for Jesus’ sake; his Spirit also works through people and systems— even kings and governments— to remind us how to live and to do what is right. What a cause for joy!

Spirit of God, thank you for the work you do through others to build us up and draw us closer to being at home with you. Help us to share your grace too. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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