William Carey, the great Baptist missionary and linguist, arrived in India in 1793. The first convert came after seven and a half years. Then the work seemed to accelerate, and Carey set to work on translating the scriptures into the native language. But in 1812, after almost 20 years of labour, a fire broke out which destroyed the printing house, with presses, paper, books, and manuscripts.
This is Carey’s response: “The Lord has laid me low, that I might look more simply to him.”
Carey could begin the work again, despite the opposition he faced because rebuilding a life that has been ruined through sin and circumstance is what God has done for us in Jesus. God is the God of restoration.
Chapter 4 of Ezra is a reminder that the opposition that confronts us as we strive to serve God in His Kingdom can be deceitful, bold and persistent. It is also a warning to God’s people of the temptation that comes with opposition.
The message is this: That the stirring of God needed to begin the work is also needed to complete it. What is begun in the Spirit must be carried to completion in the Spirit. God must be present with His people for them to prosper and survive the hardship they will most certainly face.
Though it often appears as an ally, the world hates the church. Therefore, there will be times when we say no to their help; lest they should say, “I made Abraham rich”.
The world often hates the church with boldness. Opposition can be powerful. The people of God must learn to keep their eyes and ears on Christ and not on the world. This was Haggai’s message to the despondent remnant who had given up on building the Temple (Haggai 1).
The unbelieving world will always hate the church persistently. This can wear the Saints down and tempt them to seek comfort in the building of their own “little world” to the neglect of the Kingdom.
These are the temptations we must be able to discern and respond to. And we cannot do it unless the Lord is with us. And if He is with us, then who can be against us?
Lessons For little Saints…
- hy did the people stop work?
- Why were the enemy worried about the re-building of Jerusalem?
- What did God say about those who stopped work?
- What did God say to them that encouraged them to keep working?