Monday, May 27, 2019

The God of False Starts: What He Does While We Wait

The God of False Starts

If you are his, God will most certainly finish the work he has started in you, but you may not finish what he’s given you to do. If you do finish, it likely will not be when you thought you would.

In our ministry to lost loved ones, in our marriage or parenting, in our job or career, in our battle against sin, we may look back and groan over how little progress we’ve made. We may wonder why God has held us here for so long. If God is for us, who can stand against us? has slowly faded to If God if for us, why does everything seem to stand against us?

We can relate to the remnant of Israel who were brought back from exile.

God had promised to restore them, and then he stirred the God-forsaken heart of Persia’s king (Ezra 1:1). After fifty long years — the longest years in their nation’s history — they were coming home. Children that were only five when Babylon seized their families now had grandchildren. With tears in their eyes, they prepared to show their grandsons and granddaughters, for the very first time, the land Almighty God had given them.

Now, their dreams lay on the ground with their tools, and they were forbidden to pick them up again. They didn’t know it then, but they would wait there — oppressed and unfinished — for fifteen years. How many who had sang over the foundation died before the temple was rebuilt?

The set their dreams down that day, and were not allowed to pick them up again for fifteen years.

The thrill of beginning only intensified the pain of stopping again.

50,000 had finally wandered home, and began rebuilding what had been lost.

The king had spoken. “Make a decree that these men be made to cease, and that this city be not rebuilt, until a decree is made by me” (Ezra 4:21). Just as soon as they had laid the foundation, God sent a paralyzing interruption. Their work, for now, had ended.

The work did not stop for week or even months, but for fifteen years. After fifty years of suffering and waiting in Babylon, God ordered fifteen more. For many, I’m sure they were the longest, because they had tasted home again.

Fifty years had passed since the last Jews were driven from their homes into exile.

“In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing” (Ezra 1:1).

from Desiring God
via DG