Resistance to Building The Temple

Evangelist Gypsy Smith said that once, when a group of gypsies were forced to cross a swollen stream, a great number of men were drowned. One young man made a desperate attempt to save his mother who kept clinging to him. Several times he pushed her away, saying, “Let go, Mo … More

Hindrances

When the Samaritans heard that the Jews were making good progress in building the temple they came to them with an offer of assistance (vv. 1-3). Outwardly they pretended to be friendly and cooperative while in reality they intended to hinder and stop the work. Zerubbabel, Joshua and the other leaders saw through their scheme and refused to compromise with these people and dogmatically rejected their help. To some it may seem these men of God dealt in a hard, cold way with these Samaritans who seemed friendly and offered to help. However, if they had agreed to the Samaritan proposal, their whole godly project would have been utterly hindered. These people were sacrificing on other altars and were not true worshipers of God.

After this rejection these adversaries openly opposed the work in various ways (vv. 4-5).  It says they “weakened the hands of the people” (v. 4) which suggest that they probably threatened the people with physical force and thus made them fearful. Also they vented their anger by sending letters to Ashasuerus and Artaxerxes (vv. 6,7). They accused the Jews of fortifying their city with the purpose of rebelling against the Persian king and refusing to pay him the various kinds of taxes required of them. Apparently Cyrus and Ashasuerus had ignored the complaints addressed to them but when Artaxerxes came on the scene he sent a directive that the work be stopped.

Application

If I do God’s work I can expect opposition. (II Tim. 3:12). I must be alert to those who claim to be Christians but whose actions clearly reveal that they are using Christianity to serve their own interests.

Ezra 4:1-5 (English Standard Version)

Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the LORD, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers' houses and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria who brought us here." But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' houses in Israel said to them, "You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us." Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

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