SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
“6 In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
7 In the days of Artaxerxes also, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabel, and the rest of their companions wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the letter was written in Aramaic script, and translated into the Aramaic language. 8 Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes in this fashion:
9 From Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions—representatives of the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the people of Persia and Erech and Babylon and Shushan, the Dehavites, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnapper took captive and settled in the cities of Samaria and the remainder beyond the River — and so forth.
11 (This is a copy of the letter that they sent him)
To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men of the region beyond the River, and so forth:
12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem, and are building the rebellious and evil city, and are finishing its walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Let it now be known to the king that, if this city is built and the walls completed, they will not pay tax, tribute, or custom, and the king’s treasury will be diminished. 14 Now because we receive support from the palace, it was not proper for us to see the king’s dishonor; therefore we have sent and informed the king, 15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. And you will find in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and provinces, and that they have incited sedition within the city in former times, for which cause this city was destroyed.
16 We inform the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the result will be that you will have no dominion beyond the River” Ezra 4:6-16.
“THEREFORE PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD SO THAT WHEN THE DAY OF EVIL COMES, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO” Ephesians 6:13.
We saw in the previous edition of Spiritual Nourishment how the people surrounding the Jews in Jerusalem and Judah started opposing them. This started immediately after they had been denied the opportunity to join the Jews in rebuilding the Temple of God. We made the point that God revealed their wicked intentions to the Jews who stood firm and rejected their offer even though they needed more people in the building project. In this edition, we want to look at some of the other ways the surrounding nations used sought for the downfall of the Jews.
Immediately after they had been refused by the Jews, the surrounding nations started discouraging the Jews from building the Temple. They also tried to cause fear in them so that they would not continue building the Temple of God. They even went to the extent of hiring people who could work against the building of the Temple. They knew what it meant for the Jews to have the Temple of God in their midst and were bent on ensuring that the project failed. They knew that the Temple of God would revive the worship of YHWH in the region and unite the Jews more than their present state. They also knew that they their spiritual revival would also make them more powerful and more prosperous. So they did everything they could to ensure the Jews failed. This is something we all need to mindful of in our daily lives.
There are many people around us who can see where the LORD is taking us to. They know that we have been marked by the LORD for success in our ministries, marriages, businesses, careers, education among others. They know that very soon we shall be elevated to a higher level and they will be demoted. For those reasons they will do everything they can to frustrate us in everything we do. We should be aware but not be discouraged. We should not let anyone distract us from where the LORD wants to take us. That is why we all need to put on the full armor of God at all times. If we fail to recognize the presence of spiritual and physical enemies around us and be prepared towards them, we are deceiving ourselves. That is why the word of God has warned us to be alert at all times. In 1 Peter 5:8, we are admonished as follows:
BE SELF-CONTROLLED AND ALERT. YOUR ENEMY, THE DEVIL, PROWLS AROUND LIKE A ROARING LION LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO DEVOUR. The above should always be on our minds as Christians.
The detractors of the Jews organized themselves to write a letter to the king telling him about what the Jews were doing in Jerusalem and Judea. They told the king that the Jews were rebellious people and were building a wicked and rebellious city. They also told the king that the Jews were restoring the walls and repairing the foundations of the city. They further told the king that the rebuilding of Jerusalem and Judea would render the king with nothing in the Trans-Euphrates region since the city had been troublesome to kings and provinces and a place of rebellion from ancient times. It is clear from the accusations leveled against the Jews that the surrounding nations were jealous of God’s people and tried any means possible to frustrate them. This is not so different from what we experience as modern day Christians.
There are many people who are so scared of our spiritual and physical progress that they wish we never get to where the LORD intends to place us. The sad part of it is that not all of them are from outside of the family God. Left to such people alone, we would have died long ago or been sick till now. They wish we were jobless, cashless and incapable of doing anything good. They write negatively about us and say so many negative things against us just to see to it that we are hated by others while they enjoy their favor from. Their fear of our progress turns into jealousy and enmity against us. When words are unable to help them accomplish their objectives, they resort to negative spiritual means just to halt any progress we may be making. But we are very much assured that whatever they do against us will not stand because God is on our side. They can do whatever they want but we have been assured that no weapon fashioned against us will stand.
Today, I would like to encourage all believers that many people may bring false accusations against you and even hate you because of what the LORD has done and is still doing in your life. But we shall not fear those sore losers. What we need to overcome them is to put on the full armor of God at all times. We need to put the armor of God at all times because we do not know when they will attack us. Let us read Ephesians 6:14-17 to remind ourselves of the armor of God!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.