Nearly anytime God’s people inch forward, make progress … there will be opposition!
And the Book of Ezra has carefully recorded for us how a handful of Jews, returning from Babylon, built an altar to Almighty God. And how they immediately thereafter started to (re)build the Temple (so far just the foundation, but still advancing toward the goal). Progress indeed!
THEN … came the trouble!
“Now when the ADVERSARIES of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel ….” Ezra 4:1
The noun used here for “adversary” is “tzsar” in Hebrew. It is also translated “enemy” 37 different times in the King James Version of Scripture, to give you a synonym.
The root of “tzsar” is a verb meaning “to tighten one’s grip” on a person. “To bind, to make narrow,” thus “to cause pain!” In other words, “to besiege.” Maybe even including the idea of “applying pressure!”
So clearly the devil has begun to0 fight the work!
Yes, because of evil … good will be opposed.
Listen to Jesus on this subject.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18
Let me stop right here this morning and try to encourage some saint who is facing such difficulty (or difficulties)!
If the devil is fighting … that might be a sign the work you are doing is significant!
Such manifold trials might mean that you have “hurt” him and his nefarious cause … in your recent advances for the Lord!
Jesus again in John 16:33 … “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation (pressure): but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
I either read or heard a Preacher say this once:
“You can often tell a man’s character not only by the friends he keeps, but by the enemies who fight him!”
— Dr. Mike Bagwell