Whatever is needed by the priests to offer daily sacrifices to the God of Heaven, give it to them without fail, so their sacrifices are acceptable to God, and that they may pray for the king and his sons. -Ezra 6:9-10

Israel’s disobedience had serious consequences, when God followed up on what Moses and Joshua warned them would happen if they didn’t change their ways: He would allow for invaders to come in, destroy all they have, and take them away into captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar and his armies were God’s instrument to do just that to them.

Hopelessness and despair most certainly must have hung heavy over the Israelites, with no resolution in sight. But with the next rulers, things miraculously started to change. Enemies of the Israelites, concerned that the Israelites were rebuilding Jerusalem, escalated their concerns to King Darius, who found in the royal archives that King Cyrus did indeed permit this rebuilding.

And King Cyrus didn’t just permit it, but also blessed it with resources…and the kings who followed did the same. And as we read about in the Book of Nehemiah, the wall of Jerusalem is rebuilt in an astonishing 52 days. A bit later, Israelites who were scattered return, and Ezra reads the Law to them to remind them of how obedience to the One who reunited them leads to blessing.

And so it is with our lives today. Sometimes the hard seasons seem hopeless, desperate, endless. But we can persevere in faith, and also live every moment in faith and obedience, knowing that He uses all things and people and circumstances for the good of those He has called. This is the season of rebuilding, preparing for better times ahead.