A Pernicious Lie

Read: Ezra 4:17-24

Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped. (v. 24)

Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, “A lie that is half-truth is the darkest of all lies.” Certainly, it can be one of the most difficult to squelch. You can refute a blatant lie with the facts, but a half-truth lives on in suspicion and innuendo, persisting despite your best efforts to silence it.

The letter written to King Artaxerxes by the enemies of Judah was such a lie (see vv. 11-16). From the king’s perspective, it could be said that Jerusalem had “a long history of revolt”; the Jews had resisted both the Assyrians and the Babylonians as a vassal state. But the letter didn’t mention that the Jews were actually obeying the decree of Cyrus the Persian by resettling the city and rebuilding God’s temple. Rebellion was far from their minds. Nevertheless, the letter accomplished its purpose; the king called for the work in Jerusalem to cease. The Jews’ enemies took this response and quickly forced the Jews to stop working. For 16 years the temple and the city walls languished in disrepair. This was a real blow to the people of God.

Discouragement is real, and we can experience setbacks along our way. But God had a plan for Jerusalem and this roadblock was only temporary. Jerusalem would be rebuilt; the temple would be completed, despite the opposition of kings and the persistence of enemies! His purposes always come to pass. —Laura N. Sweet

As you pray, confess any discouragement you are experiencing today.

About the Author

Laura Sweet

Laura N. Sweet is a wife, mother, grandmother, and former Christian schoolteacher from Midland, Michigan. She writes devotional material for both adults and children, and her work has appeared in more than a dozen publications.

This entry is part 4 of 16 in the series Faithful among the Ruins