The Battle for the Blessing (Week 7), Adversaries Appear

“The Battle for the Blessing”

Ezra & Nehemiah Series Week #7

February 18th 2024

Ezra Chapter 4 “Adversaries Appear”

We have called this series “The Battle for the Blessing”

· We must contend every day for the fruit of God’s blessings

This Week:

· Ezra 4:1-24

Remember last week when I said that when you truly begin to walk in God’s plan for you, that you will quickly find out who your enemies are?

· Ezra 4:1

Israel has always been surrounded by enemies who wanted to take their land…

· These enemies weren’t all that interested in the land until the Jews began to make progress…

Jesus told his disciples this:

o Matthew 10:16

Here’s what that looks like in practice…

· Ezra 4:2

How many of you think that the Jews welcomed the offer for help?

· Ezra 4:3

We need to talk about the Samaritans and what they mean when they say that they “have been sacrificing to Him”, and why they have a bad rap…

· 2 Kings 17

And much later, Jesus and His Disciples are walking through Samaria on the way to Jerusalem when the Samaritan village refuses to give them shelter…

· Luke 9:54-56

Even before the Luke scripture, Jesus was passing through Samaria and runs into a woman at the well…

· John 4:7-10

After the resurrection, when Jesus appears to the disciples, the last thing he says to them before he sends to heaven is…

· Acts 1:8

These guys don’t take kindly to having their “help” refused…

· Ezra 4:4-5

The Samaritans even went so far as to build a competing temple in the city of Sechem on top of Mt. Gerazim!

· Of course, this causes even more animosity between them

It takes a serious intervention from the Lord to get them to restart the project!

· Haggai 1:9-11

Those who opposed the reconstruction sent messages throughout the reign of various Persian kings

The one that finally gets some attention is found in verse 13 & 14:

· Ezra 4:13-14

Artaxerxes does a search and finds that the Jews definitely have a checkered past!

· Ezra 4:24

In the times of Zerubabbel, Ezra and the rebuilding of the temple, even though they have the means and the authority to do it, enemies tried to stop the rebuilding by any means possible…

· This is a continuation of the lifelong strife between those who follow the Lord, and those who would oppose Him!

o Genesis 3:15

This is nothing new, and continues today!

· John 10:10

Remember, from last week that upon seeing just the foundation of the new temple being laid, many of the elders were upset that this temple didn’t match the old one?

· Haggai 2:9

A generation before Haggai reminded them of this, another Prophet of God spoke from exile:

· Ezekiel 36:24-27

They couldn’t yet understand what that truly meant, but sitting here, thousands of years later, we should understand what Paul was trying to tell us…

· 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Since the times of the exodus from Egypt, the temple has been seen as the place where the glory of God resided….

· It has been built, fought over, destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed again…

When Christ ascended to heaven, the Spirit of God indwelled in those who believe in Him…

· Why would this new Temple of God be any less contentious and fought-over than the others through history?

The answer is, it is even more of a battle, because we all fight for it in our own ways every day.

1. Will you battle for it?

2. Will you give up and choose the easier path?

3. Will the battle be worth it?

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