Read Ezra Chapter 3
Ezr 3:10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: “He is good; His love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.
There was great joy when the Israelites returned to Jerusalem with instructions and authority to rebuild the temple. At the time the foundation of the temple was laid, the Israelites had been in captivity for 50 years. God had placed within Cyrus, king of Persia, a desire to release the first batch of Israelites to go back home and to begin restoring their temple (Ezra 1:1-4). The above passage recounts the elation that ensued after the foundation was laid. Some cried for joy and others wept for joy.
It took 20 years more for the temple to be completed. If you read further in Ezra, you will find that there were many trials and obstacles that had to be overcome in those 20 years. Along the way, there was much sorrow that was caused by the enemies of God. Satan did not want the temple to be rebuilt. He inspired many men to rise up and oppose the project. However, because it was God’s will, the enemies were rebuffed. The Lord’s enemies can never triumph in the long run.
The principle can be applied to any situation where God has a plan for mankind. God’s will most assuredly be completed despite the efforts of our enemy and all those who team up with our enemy. No matter how much opposition comes, God’s plan will triumph. However, some men will fold under the pressure and tribulation from the enemy. The parable of the sower/seeds/soil clearly tells us that, unfortunately, some men will not stay to the end of the process. Many will give up instead of staying the course to the end.
As we think of our battle with unwanted same-sex desires, what can we say (with assurance) would be God’s plan? It is His plan to provide victory for any man or woman who will join Him in the battle. His plan is to give victory over this “thorn in the flesh” to anyone who listens to Him, take hold of His promises, and stays the course all the way to the end. It is the same plan that He has for anyone to overcome any kind of sin which threatens to derail their quest for godliness.
There are other applications. When we first began our journey out of homosexuality, we were joyous and grateful to discover that our brand of sin did not prevent us from becoming a child of God, a follower of Christ. There was a time when we were determined to follow through and defeat our enemy. But then opposition came. We discovered that temptation was not going to relent. We discovered that God’s plan was to build our strength to resist temptation, not to do away with temptation. At times it seemed that we found temptation and opportunity at every turn in our lives. Our joy suddenly was replaced with sadness, disappointment, with the knowledge that our temple-building project was going to be difficult. We had to make a choice. Will we continue building our “temple,” or will we succumb to the enemy’s opposition?
Also, we discovered a new world which accepted homosexuality as a legitimate way of life. We even found “Christian” leaders who said God sanctioned it. The opposition came in the form of an “angel of light,” one who told us that it was not necessary to rebuild our temple. We could come over and worship at the temple of God’s enemy. It was a way of life which was easy to accept. What will we do? Building our temple is difficult; giving in to the enemy is not only easy, it is “enjoyable.” You know the correct answer to all these questions. Just as the NT Christians refused to choose the easy life, they laid down their lives and willingly accepted the difficult life which Jesus warned would come. My friends, let’s stay the course. God’s plan for you and me will come to pass, and we will not regret out decision.
Prayer: Lord, our temple is difficult to build. But we will continue, with Your help, knowing that we will be rewarded in the end. Thank You for the promises from Your word, for they keep us assured that we are on the right road.