• William T. Howe Ph.D.

May 22, 2021

Daily Reading: Ezra 4-7

Ezra 4:1

Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;

There will always be adversaries. This is why I have heard my pastor, Dr. Bob Smith, say numerous times: "Never stop in doubt that which was started by faith." He's right. If a person undertakes it upon themselves to do anything for Christ, any good work for Him, adversaries and adversities will arise. As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west there are those people and issues that will try to undermine any good work for the Lord God. It has always been this way and will always be this way. One of the best ways to overcome the adversaries is to know their strategies. Ezra chapter four helps us to understand the "play book", if you will, of those who will try to hinder the work of God.

In verse two we read of the enemy’s fake promise of assistance. Let us build with you... In verse one these individuals were already designated as the adversaries. Why let them help? In verse three the leaders wisely sidestepped this trap by saying, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God: but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel.

Not to be deterred, the second tactic employed by the adversaries was that they caused the hands of the people to become feeble. Ezra 4:4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,. The enemy of God constantly tries to weaken and trouble those who attempt to build something for God. Don't believe it? Try pastoring.

After these two first tactics did not succeed, the adversaries tried a new strategy. Frustration. Ezra 4:5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. Frustration can be assuaged through patience. God's people must be patient through the frustrations that will certainly come their way. They must cultivate patience as an oyster cultivates a pearl. Meaning they need the patience of an oyster.

If these do not work the determined adversary may turn to false accusation. Ezra 4:6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. Many good works have been stopped through false accusations. Sometimes it is impossible to prove innocence, this is the sad truth and why this tactic is so prevalent.

If all others fail, the final tactic is force. Ezra 4:23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. No need to explain this for we are all well aware of the force and power of the adversary.

Be watchful of these five tactics: fake promises to help, feebling of people, frustration of purpose, false accusations, and force. The best advice to overcome them is found in the advice of my pastor: "Never stop in doubt that which is started in faith."

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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