“When the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, they approached Zerubbabel… and said, ‘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 buildand bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose…
“They wrote an accusation…’Be it known to the king that the Jews who came up… have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations… If this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired… This city is… hurtful to kings and provinces, and sedition was stirred up in it from of old…
“But the eye of their God was on… the Jews… ‘Be it known to the king that… this work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands…’ 11 And this was their reply: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house.’ Ezra 4:1-6,12-13,15b; 5:5,8,11a
Wise Ezra knew his call and trusted his God. When the enemy came along to disrupt his work by injecting uncertainty and fear, he kept his wits. But not so all the people of Judah, who were deterred by the emotional upheaval of false accusations and threats. Ezra, unshaken by the opposition, worked to uncover the truth about their plan and persevered in God’s assigned work. (Ezra 5:6-6:14; 7:6,10)
Fear foments in fertile soil of the mind. It is a crafty tool of Satan, who operates deliberately against the mindset and plans of the Lord to distract us from His glorious intent for our days and seasons. Our spiritual adversaries meddle and pester to worm their way in through suggestion, falsehood, and the pledge of like-mindedness and caring about our good.
When we resist, additional tactics are implemented: disruption of priorities, discouragement from progress, and accusation against motives. But when we are certain of God’s clear calling, we can shake off enemy wiles and confidently proceed. Pressing ahead in what we know to be true guards against the alluring persuasion of falsehood and mixed allegiances.
In what areas have we yielded to fear, failing to trust God’s sovereignty over His plans? What messages or threats jar our security in what is true? What present urgencies have veered us off course of the long, eternal view?
Do I need a fresh re-tethering to God’s word and purpose? The enemy would have us grovel in the lowlands of fear, but the Lord calls us to a higher, consistent life of faith and service. How I feel, react, and order my decisions proves where my trust, vision, and purpose are.
Lord, lift every thought and impulse above fear to bless and trust You (Ezra 7:27-28)