READ: Ezra 4-6
THINK: Whenever you try to do something for God in this world you will face opposition. No great movement of God and no great thing done in his name has ever come without a cost. This was certainly the case for the people who were rebuilding the temple. Just as soon as they got going they were slandered before the Assyrian king. Chances are, if you boldly make a move for Jesus in your world, you’ll be lied about and slandered too. And you’ll hear Jesus slandered. Check out what the great Reverend Charles Spurgeon has to say about that:
The facts of the case were these. Under Zerubbabel, the Jews, who had returned from Babylon, commenced to rebuild Jerusalem. There were in the land certain half-and-half persons, somewhat like the Samaritans, who were neither Jews nor Gentiles and they asked, at first, that they might join in the building of Jerusalem. This was refused, the Jews determining to keep themselves pure from all association with the heathen or semi-heathen. So indignant were these people at this that they wrote Artaxerxes, the king, to tell him that he was very little aware of what was going on in Judea, for the Jews had always been, from time immemorial, a troublesome people, and now they were beginning to build their city again. And as soon as it was built they would, in all probability, revolt against King Artaxerxes and give him much trouble, as their fathers had done to kings before him.
Now, in writing that letter they showed themselves wise in their generation, for they told the king in the words of our text that they were moved by gratitude to write to him. It was false—but hypocrites often use the best of words and employ the best of sense to cover their deceit. They said that they, themselves, were sustained from the king’s palace and, therefore, they could not bear that the king should be dishonored—for this reason they had written to tell his majesty that the Jews were building this wall and they trusted that, for his own honor’s sake, and for his subjects’ sake, he would stop them.
Yes, you may report to the Lord the false doctrine that is preached and the foul sophistry that is printed in these days. Such plain statements might become mighty pleas with God that He should arise, assert His cause and do His own work. Lord, You know that this day the Deity of your Son has been insulted—the Inspiration of Your Word has been denied. You know the power of Your Holy Spirit has been ridiculed, Your eternal love has been denied, Your infinitely blessed Sovereignty has been scoffed at! O Father, You know the atoning blood has been made a subject of contempt! Arise, O God, plead Your own cause! Behold, all over the world men are mad upon their idols! They give themselves to falsehoods and to lies.
O God of Truth, arise and avenge Yourself! Have You not said, “Ah, I will ease Me of My adversaries”? Do this, then. Give glory to whom glory is due and let not the name of Jesus be forever cast out as evil by ungodly men! This ought to be the constant pleading of the Church—“Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him?” O, it ought to be! Day and night cry about all this! The sin of this London, oh, if we felt it, it would weigh us down—the drunkenness of London, the lust of London, the oppression of London, the wickedness of every shape that reeks, as from a dunghill, from this great city—O God, will You always bear it? Will You not rise and change all this? Will You not give power to Your Gospel that a gracious reformation may be made?
Tell the Lord about it! Inform the King! After those people had informed the king, they took care to plead with him. As I have already told you, they apprized him that the city of Jerusalem was a very troublesome city and therefore it ought not to be rebuilt. Plead with God! Plead with God! Plead with God! That praying is poor shift that is not made up of pleading. “Bring forth your reasons,” says the Lord. Bring forth your strong arguments.
O remember, the King is always ready to receive His rebel subjects and He is a God ready to pardon. “Kiss the Son lest He be angry, and you perish from the way when His wrath is kindled but a little.” “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” That is the way of reconciliation—to put your trust in Him. And if you do put your trust in His dear Son, you are reconciled to Him! You shall be maintained out of His palace, and then, I trust, you will live to His Glory. Amen and amen.
PRAY: Ask God to help you trust him completely and boldly sell out for the cause of the gospel in your world. And commit to coming before him and letting him know and trusting him with your reputation when you face opposition for doing so.