Adversaries (Ezra 3-4)

Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, Ezra 4:1

Like most people who grew up in small town America, I knew who our adversaries were.  Each fall and each winter our high schools met on the field of battle.  Yes we did battle during both football and basketball seasons. Sometimes our army would win and sometimes their army would win.  But to be honest, those battles did little to change the outcome of world circumstances.  Such was life in small town America.

In America today there are battles raging in our large cities that seem to be making their way into our small town America. The battles are deep and they are extremely painful.  The question is, what can we do?

In the days of Ezra (see yesterdays blog) a battle was raging between God’s people and their enemies.  God had blessed his people by opening a door for them to return to the Promised Land.  Once in the land the people of God reestablished sacrifice (3:1-7) and they reestablished worship (3:8-13).

The two things God’s people engaged in where the two things Satan hates the most.  Satan does not want anyone to be right with God (Sacrifice) and he does not want anyone to worship God.

We see the adversaries rising up in Ezra 4.  Here are 4 things the adversaries did in their attempts to stop God’s people from being right with God and from worshipping God:

  1. They discouraged the people.
  2. They frustrated the people.
  3. They slandered the people.
  4. They stopped the people.

We read at the end of chapter 4, “the work of the House of the Lord stopped.”

Question:  Where are you in your spiritual life today?  Maybe you are facing the 4 things above or maybe you have already stopped in your fight against the enemy.  Here is what Peter wrote about the strategy for dealing with our adversary:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 5:6-11

Here are five practical applications:

  1. Be wise in identifying your battles correctly.
  2. Resist the urge to give up or respond in the flesh.
  3. Trust in God’s timing for your victory.
  4. Don’t hide your hurts from God. Pour out your heart to Him.
  5. Wait with expectation for the victory is coming!

Brothers and sisters, Faith is the victory that overcomes the world!!!

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