Read: Ezra 4:1-16
Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build. (v. 4)
The apostle Peter reminds us, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). Still, we often are surprised when opposition occurs, especially concerning our work for God’s kingdom. Hostility and pushback can make us doubt ourselves or question if we are really serving God at all. If we are being obedient to God’s calling, then why is everything so difficult?
It didn’t take long for Judah’s enemies to show up once the rebuilding in Jerusalem began; the last thing they wanted to see was the restoration of God’s people. Their initial effort to influence the project by “helping” with the rebuild was rejected by the Jewish leaders, who understood their true motives. Their enemies then used intimidation and bribery to frustrate the project. Note that these tactics went on for years! Finally, they wrote a letter to King Artaxerxes, accusing the Jews of rebuilding the city in order to rebel against him. The letter was signed by many powerful men from the area—all part of a campaign to stop the work in Jerusalem.
When God’s Spirit begins to move, we should expect resistance. God’s enemies are many, but they cannot ultimately hinder his purposes. When opposition discourages us, we need to remember: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). —Laura N. Sweet
As you pray, ask for patience when you face opposition.
About the Author
Laura N. Sweet is a wife, mother, grandmother, and former Christian schoolteacher from Midland, Michigan. She writes devotional material for both adults and children, and her work has appeared in more than a dozen publications.