Pastor Thomas Smith   -  

“Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them. At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?”¬†Ezra 5:2, 3

In the Book of Haggai, it is recorded that God, in very strong language, reprimanded His people for their neglect in rebuilding the temple. To their credit, the people responded to the message of Haggai and resumed work on the Lord’s house. Our text in Ezra tells us that “at the same time” that Zerubbabel and Jeshua “began to build the house of God,” they were visited by Tatnai and others who questioned their authority to build.

Tatnai and his companions were not as antagonistic as some of the adversaries that resisted this work of rebuilding, but they were a good illustration of something we also experience. It seems more than coincidental that “at the same time” God’s people get stirred up to do something that He wants, a voice of division or difficulty is raised. How is it that an inspiration to reform or change in some positive way is often accompanied by an attempt to discourage or hinder? I have seen this personally or heard others speak of it many times. When one decides to make noble steps to obey God, he should be prepared for some form of difficulty to be introduced.

One source of this opposition can surely be attributed to the devil. He hates to see the work of God go forward. When a child of God gets stirred up about living for the Lord, the devil will get stirred up about trying to prevent it. Let it not surprise us. If one has not been informed about this possibility, the opposition he faces can be discouraging. To the natural mind, it would seem that a step in a Biblical direction would be so blessed of God that He would not allow anything to hinder. However, the Bible teaches us otherwise. After Jesus was baptized and ready to initiate His preaching ministry, Satan immediately tempted Him sorely.

The enemy will always seek to distract God’s people. We should not let that deter us. If anything, we ought to allow this testing to be used to strengthen our resolve to serve God.