Summary: Sermon 6 of the Series. Chapter 4 is the sudden storm that interrupted what seemed to be clear sailing. The Jews knew that true worship of Jehovah could not be fully enjoyed until the Temple stood again! Satan knew this too. And he rears his ugly head to
The Book of Ezra
(Ezra 4:1-5, 24)
Opposition: Part I
* 1. What comes to your mind as an example of an offer that seemed “too good to be true”?
2. When have you distrusted an offer of help or favor?
• Chapter 3 told us of the rebuilding of the altar, the renewed sacrifices and feasts, and the laying of the foundation of the Temple.
• Now, chapter 4 takes a drastic turn.
• The sky of chapter 3 is the bright, sunny spirit of revival. Chapter 4 is dark indeed.
• Chapter 4 is the sudden storm that interrupted what seemed to be clear sailing.
• The Jews knew that true worship of Jehovah could not be fully enjoyed until the Temple stood again!
• Satan knew this too. And he rears his ugly head to oppose it’s construction.
I. THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE OPPOSITION (1)
Ezra 4:1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel;
Notes on the reality of opposition.
“adversaries” - comes from a Hebrew root that also means “a pebble.” As a pebble in a shoe.
• Oh how we wish that instances of persecution were the exception.
• The Bible is an honest book. It tells us the truth.
• And the truth is that, as Paul tells us, ...
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
• Peter tells us ...
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
• The Apostle John tells us ...
1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
• Jesus himself told us ...
John 15:18-19 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
• Satan has no demons assigned to stagnant churches!
• But for those that are moving forward, beware!
II. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OPPOSITION (2-5)
A. COMPROMISE (2-3)
1. Their Offer Rendered (2)
 Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon [NOTE: see book background box] king of Assur, which brought us up hither.
a. An Offer of Construction (2A)
• Anyone building can use some help.
• But there are people that you do not want helping you!
b. An Offer of Comparison (2B)
• We are just like you.
2 Kings 17:24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.
2. Their Offer Refused (3)
 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.
ILLUSTRATION: (CREDIT KEN COLLIER AND GUY ROBERTS) BIRD IS LATE IN FLYING SOUTH. ICE STORM. FREEZES, DROPS IN SNOW IN N.C. COW DROPS WARM PATTY ON IT. IT THAWS AND CHIRPS HAPPILY. NEIGHBORING FARM CAT HEARD IT, DUG IT OUT AND ATE IT. MORAL: NOT EVERYONE THAT DROPS A PATTY ON YOU IS YOUR ENEMY, NOT EVERYONE THAT GETS YOU OUT OF THE PATTY IS YOUR FRIEND, SOMETIMES WHEN YOU HAVE HAD A PATTY DROPPED ON YOU, IT PAYS JUST TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING OUTLINE BY ARTHUR C. DALTON.
a. The Authority for Their Refusal - Persian King
b. The Object of Their Refusal - Pure Religion
• These locals had made the claim that “we transplanted people need to stick together.”
• They argued, we are just like you.
• Such is not the case.
• The Jews respond, “Ye have nothing to do with us.”
• They say, This is to “our God.”
• The Samaritans worshiped Jehovah in “add-on fashion.” (Cf., 2 Kings 17)
• They simply added Him to their other Gods.
• This is not worship that the jealous God can accept.
• Eventually, they gave up hope of uniting with the Jews and built and apostate temple of their own on Mt. Gerazim.