With the decree to resettle their own lands, Ezra lead a large group of Israelites back to their promised land. One can only imagine the joy and the excitement of the Babylonian captives looking forward to a new fresh life where they could finally escape their hardships in Babylon and live together in peace. But that was not to be. They returned home only to find trials, hardship, opposition and ridicule. 

The first step in reestablishing their way of life is recorded in Verse 3 of Ezra 3. It says, “They set the altar in its place, ?for fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and ?they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, burnt offerings morning and evening. ”  The burnt offerings are those sacrifices which were totally devoted to God. They were not shared by priests or worshippers.  It was the worshippers and the nations expression of their dependence on God and total commitment to Him. God’s people had enemies and opposition wherever they turned, and their one and only recourse was to turn to God.

It’s when we face insurmountable troubles that we truly experience our need for God. And it’s in the total apprehension of our need for God that we find true strength.  It was true for Ezra and Israel and it’s true for us. Paul even claims to take joy in his hardships and trials because “my strength is made perfect in weakness.” That’s when the power of Christ comes to our aid.  He continues in 2 Corinthians 12, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

It’s in our weaknesses, frailties and insufficiencies that God does his greatest work.

“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.” Jude 20-21 (NLT)