October 04, 2021

Not the Expected Response

 Devotion for the Week...

Some kids love to point out every little thing another kid is doing that is against the rules. This amuses me to no end, especially since those same kids are often guilty of doing the same things, they just don't tattle on themselves. Unless the other kid is in danger of hurting themselves or someone else, I usually tell the tattler something like, "You worry about what you're doing. It's not your job to worry about what they're doing." More than one youngster has looked confused when their attempt to get someone else in trouble backfired and instead earned them a reprimand.

Unfortunately, this trying to get someone else in trouble isn't limited to toddlers, nor is it anything new. In the book of Ezra we read about the exiled Jews who had returned to Jerusalem and were working to rebuild the Temple. A lot of years had passed and the king who had allowed the rebuilding to start was gone. In fact, they were on their second king since him, thanks to opposition under the king in the middle. Now the governor, Tattenai, and some others wrote a letter to King Darius, explaining what was going on and asking that a search be made in the royal archives to see if King Cyrus really had given permission for the work (see Ezra 5). I'm guessing Tattenai was counting on his belief that the Jews were lying or on the record being lost.

However, since it was the truth and the record was found, Darius replied, "Stay away from there! Do not disturb the construction of the Temple of God. Let it be rebuilt on its original site, and do not hinder the governor of Judah and the elders of the Jews in their work" (Ezra 6:6-7). Not only that, but King Darius decided to fund the work! "I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God. You must pay the full construction costs, without delay, from my taxes collected in the province west of the Euphrates River so that the work will not be interrupted" (v. 8).

Can you imagine the surprise Tattenai and his cronies felt as they read this letter? They wanted to stop the rebuilding altogether and instead found themselves handing over government funds to help the work along! Darius went even farther and decreed (in verse 11) a death sentence that would be carried out against anyone who violated his decree and hindered the work on the Temple. Just like the toddlers who are confused by my reprimand for their tattling, I'm sure Tattenai was confused by Darius' response!

Reading that story made me remember Gamaliel, who appears in Acts 5. He's said to be "an expert in religious law and respected by all the people" (v. 34). Peter had been arrested for preaching in the Temple court and had just told the high council, "We must obey God rather than any human authority" (v. 29), and the members of the high council were furious and wanted to kill him and the apostles with him. But Gamaliel addressed the other members of the council, saying, "So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!" (vv. 38-39). Wise words, Gamaliel.

It's possible we could be on either side of this situation. We could be the ones doing the work we're supposed to be doing, but still facing opposition by people who think we're doing something wrong. In those cases, we can find comfort in Gamaliel's words. If it's God's will, the opposition will find themselves fighting against God Himself. We're not alone in the work we're doing and He will see us through, even if there are delays and setbacks.
We don't want to find ourselves fighting against God! | DevotedQuilter.com
Or we could be the ones who are so worried about what others are doing that we forget they might be doing what God wants, even if it's something we disagree with. In those times, maybe it would be best to imagine God saying to us, "You worry about what you're doing. It's not your job to worry about what they're doing." After all, we don't want to find ourselves fighting against God!


  1. Hi Leanne. It's nice to have your devotions back. I always learn something when I read them. Today I was reminded to be sure I'm on the path God has for me each day. Blessings!

  2. What a wonderful lesson shared. Thank you, Leanne. This is something that was taught to me at an early age and it really rings true now. Wishing you a beautiful week.

  3. Thanks, Hun! Appreciate your devotions❤️!

  4. It is amazing how often your devotion has addressed a situation I have been facing that week and then how reassuring your answer/explication is.Thanks and blessings to you.

  5. Thanks Leanne, this is timely reinforcement for me to read, hear and ponder.


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