According to a reliable source, a pastor spoke out against his city’s racial segregation policies; and as a result, the city deliberately delayed the church’s permit to build a new edifice. Taking a stand for justice can sometimes delay a good project. When ancient Israel went back home after 70 years in exile, they faced opposition from local people who did not want them to rebuild their Temple. The Temple would signal their desire to worship God, but it would also give them a national identity. Their neighbors knew that, and wanted to keep them from uniting and building. So, they constantly tried to stop them from rebuilding their Temple. Years later, they even sent a letter to the Persian King, Artaxerxes. They accused the Jews of working against the interests of the Persians. They told the king that if the Jews were successful in rebuilding their Temple, the land west of the Euphrates River would be lost to the Persians. This letter persuaded the Persians to stop the rebuilding project. Yet despite this interruption, two years later, a new Persian King came to power. He permitted the Jews to resume and complete the Temple. Today, circumstances and uncooperative people may interfere with God’s plans for and through us; but they cannot torpedo God’s work—if—if we are doing what God wants, and if we remain faithful to Him.
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