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Oppositions & Obstacles 1 – Three Kind Of Opposers

Updated: Feb 24, 2020

Chan Gin Kai

Ezra 4:1-24

When the Jews started rebuilding the Temple, opposition came. This shouldn’t surprise us, as we may even have faced similar situations before. Life often seems easier when we don’t desire godliness. But when we strive to be righteous and set our hearts on serving God, obstacles always appear.

Oppositions and obstacles can come from different people in various ways.

People Who Fake Interest In What We Do

When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.” (Ezra 4:1-2)

This offer of help from the Samaritans reeked of deceit. Firstly, if they had sought after God like they claimed, then they wouldn’t have worshipped other gods. Secondly, how did they make sacrifices to God without a Temple and priesthood? They had obviously gone against God’s commandments. Any Jew who knew his or her scriptures would see the contradictions in the Samaritans’ words and detect their duplicity.

We will find fakes at our workplace, in school and in our social circles. Sadly, we may even find them in church and at home too. Fakes are self-centred, but they will pretend concern for us. They will feign interest in what we do with the goal of fulfilling their own agenda. They are self-serving, but unwittingly serving Satan’s goal of distracting us from a godly life.

It can be encouraging, even flattering, when fakes pay us attention. But we will pay dearly for their ploys and plays.

How can we see through their contradictions and deception? Like the Jews who had returned from exile, we need to know our scriptures – the Bible. We need God’s guidance through his Word, and the Holy Spirit. And we will benefit greatly from the advice of godly men and women too.

People Who Discourage Us & Try to Scare Us

Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. (Ezra 4:4)

When the Jews rejected the Samaritans’ deceitful offer, the Samaritans found ways to discourage them and sow fear in their hearts.

Ungodly people will use ungodly tactics and trickery. So what if you’ve got nothing against them? So what if you’ve been nice to them all along? They don’t play by our rules. They don’t care about our ethics. They will go below the belt if it helps them get what they want. No, they don’t play fair.

They will try to discourage us through despicable means. They may try to turn our friends against us and isolate us. They may accuse and abuse us to shatter our confidence and make us doubt ourselves. They know that if they can hurt us emotionally, we will lose the strength to resist them.

They will try to cast fear in our hearts. They may threaten physical or reputational harm. They may even threaten to hurt the people we love. If they can go beyond threats to actually cause harm, let’s not imagine conscience will stop them. They know that if they can scare us, we will be too distracted or confused to fight them.

If we sink into self-pity, they win. If we cower in our shell in fear, they win too.

People With Greater Authority Or Expertise Than Us

They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia. (Ezra 4:5)

When the Jews stood strong despite the opposition, the Samaritans resorted to bribing people in official positions to frustrate their plans.

Yes, our adversaries can get people in positions of authority, influence or professional expertise to sabotage our plans. Whether these people are hired, bribed or deceived, they often have a greater ability to disrupt the work we do.

The officials managed to frustrate the plans to rebuild the Temple, but they failed to stop it. The Jews finally completed rebuilding the Temple in 516 BC, about 20 years after they started their work.

A delay is not defeat. A disruption is not destruction. The problem is, we often allow setbacks to discourage us. Oppositions can never stop us, but faithlessness will.

Satan hates it when we strive for godliness; he despises it when we desire to serve God. He will send people to stop our efforts. Opposition and obstacles will definitely come our way. If we stand firm despite these obstructions, God will help us prevail.

Read more about 'Oppositions & Obstacles':

Oppositions & Obstacles 2 - Here's Three More

Oppositions & Obstacles 3 - The Battle Within

Oppositions & Obstacles 4 - God Is With Us

Chan Gin Kai

Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God". Gin Kai joined the Central Christian Church in 1988.

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