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At the destruction of Jerusalem, the people of Judah went into exile in Babylon. When king Cyrus decreed the people could return to rebuild Jerusalem, there wasn’t the mad rush you might have expected. In the intervening 70 years new generations had grown up that had only known life in Babylon, and returning to the land promised by God didn’t have much appeal. There were only ruins and piles of stone overrun by nature to return to, and rebuilding would require a lot of time and hard work. But God’s leading them back, through Ezra, Nehemiah and Haggai, can teach us a lot about how to deal with discouragement and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

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