Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Discouragement of the Enemy

Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, 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, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, 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. 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.
(Ezr 4:1-6)

In this story, the children of Israel had been commissioned under Cyrus to rebuild the temple. Of course, their enemies did not like this. Their plan to stop the building finally succeeded. Here’s what they did.

1. They first tried to “join with them.”

Be wary when others who do not share your convictions offer to walk alongside you and “help” you to accomplish your goals. There should be no compromise in carrying out the Lord’s commands. When we ally ourselves with unbelievers, or even other proclaiming Christians who hold to heretical doctrine, we weaken ourselves and open ourselves up to failure.

2. They next tried to discourage them.

The scripture says that these enemies of God tried to discourage His believers from accomplishing their purpose. How often we hear this constant discouraging message today! The world will tell you that you can’t expect to raise your children with Godly expectations. The world tells you to “just wait, your teenager will rebel like all the rest.” The world, and sadly many proclaiming Christians, will constantly discourage you from living out the commands He has given us. Yet, we must be faithful to ignore these pests, and continue on building His purpose in our lives.

3. They hired counselors to frustrate their purpose.

We see here that lawyers were hired to fight against these believers’ Godly pursuits. How relevant is this for today! On every front you see the world and the compromising church trying to press legal charges against God’s elect. Yet, we see that even through this bombardment with trouble, they persevered until the reign of Darius.

4. They succeeded in getting a man in power who agreed with their point of view.

Verse 6 records that in the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus the adversaries finally had a leader who agreed with their point of view. They worked through this administration on into the reign of Artaxerxes. They convinced Artaxerxes that if the children of Israel were allowed to continue, it would affect revenues. This is what finally accomplished their purposes. Verse 24 records that the work of the house of God ceased after Artaxerxes forced them to stop.

Today, in America, a Democratic party has stepped into power. Whereas the enemies of God have previously taunted, discouraged, and hired counsel against us, they are now positioned to bring the force of law down on God’s people for simply following His commands. Yet, if you continue reading in Ezra, you will read that the people did not give up, and in Ezra 6:15 we read:

And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
(Ezr 6:15)

We must persevere. We must be willing to continue to build Christian principles into the lives of our children. We must stand firm on our rights to homeschool our children. We must not let our defenses down in standing up for the unborn. There may be some hard days ahead. But be encouraged, and trust that the Lord is faithful to complete the good work He began in you.

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