Scripture Text: Ezra 1: 1-6:22

As they began rebuilding the Temple, opposition came in great force. The enemy first came pretending to be friends, which is the usual modus operandi of the enemy but the exiles recognised them as the enemy. You will usually recognise the wolf in sheep’s clothing if you are in tune with the Holy Spirit. The enemy will never approach you as an enemy, he will come as a friend, gain your trust and then strike. There is a Yoruba adage that says “The insect eating the vegetable is in the vegetable” (literal translation), which means that the enemy is usually within, so when the enemy wants to strike he uses someone already in your company, not a stranger.

We need to be careful those we allow into our space, remember the case of Joshua and the Gibeonites in Joshua 9 where he was tricked to make a covenant with them, thinking they were from a far away land. He did not ask God about it first, he was moved by their appearance and of course we saw the consequences of his actions later on in the chapter.  Joshua fought the most difficult battle of his life defending the Gibeonites. In Joshua 7 we see the case of Achan who brought sin into the camp but Joshua had no idea until the Lord had mercy on him and opened his eyes to see why Israel was suffering from so much misfortune. We can see the devastation that can occur if you are in a relationship that is not of God or if someone in your company is involved in sinful acts. As children of God, we must be sensitive to the Spirit of God, always involve God in everything you do. He sees behind every mask and if you ask Him, he will reveal to you what is behind the mask.

The returning exiles saw behind the mask and knew these people had ulterior motives and so did not allow them into their company. Just because they did the right thing, the enemy did not stop finding other ways to stop the work. As a matter of fact, he became more determined to stop the work and pulled out all he had to do it. As you read the story you will find the enemy actually succeeded in stopping the building of the Temple for about 16 years. I am sure some of you may be thinking why didn’t God stop the enemy from doing this? I honestly have no right answer for you but one lesson I have learnt studying this chapter is, anytime it seems I am on a spiritual high and my relationship with God is flowing comfortably, I must be aware the enemy is not happy and will be looking for ways to introduce something, which will bring discouragement in my life. Being aware of this in advance helps me to be even more determined to stay focused on God when such things happen, because I know, at the end of the day God makes everything beautiful in its time. I know the enemies tricks and I am now the Temple of God, carrying Him everywhere I go.

We have already been warned that the enemy will try his tricks, we know he is the father of lies and we have the Holy Spirit in us guiding us and opening our eyes to the truth of all situations. The more we study the Word, the stronger we get and the more ammunition we have to deal with the discouragement and lies he tries to bring our way. This is what we all face daily, may God give us more understanding as we continue to study the Book of Ezra this month.

  • Pastor Tinu Olashore